PETALING JAYA: MPs will not be required to wear ties while in the Dewan Rakyat for a year from Feb 13.
The change in the formal dress code comes as newly minted Speaker Datuk Johari Abdul attempts to bring both procedural and physical reforms to the august hall.
“I will announce on Feb 13, the first day of the session, no necktie for the whole year,” he told The Star when contacted.
During the two-day special sitting on Dec 19, 2022, Johari made it optional for MPs to wear neckties during the next day’s sitting.
For the first time, many MPs, including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, did not wear a necktie during the Dec 20 meeting.
Members of the press covering Parliament also ditched their ties that day.
MPs in Singapore did away with ties in Parliament more than a decade ago, while MPs in the British Parliament stopped wearing ties in the House of Commons in 2017.
On Dec 5, Anwar’s unity government grabbed headlines when ministers were photographed without their ties after attending their first Cabinet meeting.
Asked whether the batik dress code for Thursday would remain, Johari said “yes”.
In October 2021, the House Committee allowed MPs and senators to wear long-sleeved Malaysian batik shirts when attending the upper and lower house sittings on Thursdays.
While some MPs supported the no-necktie move, some preferred to have it on.
Subang MP Wong Chen said: “Since Covid-19, the global office work culture has been moving towards dressing down. I will, however, elect to wear a tie more often than not. I am just used to wearing it, and it also gives a bit of formality and personality,” said the PKR MP.
Meanwhile, Machang MP Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal said he would abide by Perikatan Nasional’s stand on whether their lawmakers should wear ties or not.
“Well, it’s up to them to make such rulings. As for me, I will abide by my party’s decision,” said the Bersatu youth chief.
Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, MP for Kubang Kerian, stated that the issue was not whether MPs should wear ties or not but rather that they dress according to rules and ethics.
“The attire must be neat and cannot be all over the place. Not wearing a tie is not an issue as it is more suited for our weather,” he said.
Tuan Ibrahim, however, said MPs should not use the new ruling to be absent during proceedings in the House with the excuse that it would be too cold.
“Make sure that this ruling will not be used as an excuse to not be in the House,” the former Environment and Water minister from PAS added.
In November 2019, Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, then-deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law), complained that it was difficult for MPs to remain in the Dewan Rakyat because the air conditioning was too cold.
Pendang MP Datuk Awang Hashim questioned if a motion would be tabled and debated on.