KUALA LUMPUR: Ipoh Barat lawmaker M. Kulasegaran (pic) turned heads when he showed up in a black turban during the swearing-in ceremony of the new Cabinet ministers at Istana Negara.
The DAP lawmaker was spotted in the unusual headgear called thallapa when taking his oath of office with his counterparts from Parti Amanah Negara, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad and Salahuddin Ayub.
The trio were the third batch of lawmakers who took their oath before Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.
Kulasegaran was sworn in as Human Resource Minister while Dr Dzulkefly took the oath as Health Minister and Salahuddin as Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister.
Kulasegaran’s appearance in a turban drew much attention among local media and Malaysians who caught the ceremony live on television and the Internet.
Social media were abuzz with questions about his turban, which from afar resembled that worn by Gobind Singh Deo, who was sworn in as Communications and Multimedia Minister. Turbans are common among Sikh men in Malaysia.
Kulasegaran, a Hindu Tamil, said: “It’s a thallapa or Tamil headgear, which was also worn by Tamil kings.”
He added that he was proud to be able to don the traditional headgear in recognition of his cultural heritage.
“It is important to insist that our culture lives,” he said.
He quipped that his small gesture would help ensure that “the thallapa is here to stay”.
Also spotted entering the palace were PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and daughters Nurul Iman and Nurul Nuha.
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