(NST) – JOHOR BARU: He fought tooth and nail in the general election to get into the state assembly to make a stand, but at its first sitting yesterday he got himself thrown out.
Bentayan assemblyman Gwee Tong Hiang and his wife following the state assembly proceedings from the public gallery after he was evicted. — NST picture by Amran Hamid
Bentayan assemblyman Gwee Tong Hiang of the DAP was asked to leave the state assembly yesterday because he was not wearing the ceremonial attire for the occasion.
Gwee was asked to do so by the Speaker, Datuk Mohd Ali Hassan, at 9.45am before the opening ceremony.
Instead of donning the white Nehru collared tunic and songkok ceremonial attire worn by other assemblymen, Gwee chose a dark blue business suit without a songkok.
Speaking to reporters later, Gwee said: “I thought it did not matter what I wore because there is no standing order on the dress code. So, I chose not to wear the ceremonial attire.”
Johor DAP chairman Dr Boo Cheng Hau, who is the Skudai state assemblyman, said at a meeting on April 20, it was agreed that the four DAP assemblymen would wear the ceremonial attire, and Gwee although absent from the meeting was informed of the decision.
“We agreed to wear songkok and the ceremonial attire in respect of the sultan’s presence. It was solely Gwee’s decision not to wear the attire.
“However, we are not going to take any action against him,” he said.
Senai assemblyman Ong Kow Meng, also of DAP, was not wearing a songkok when the state assembly was in session in the morning but donned one for the opening ceremony.
Datuk Mohd Ali Hassan said reminders had been sent to all assemblymen about the dress code for the opening ceremony a month in advance.
“The allocation for the attire has been given to them and it was known that Gwee had a pair made for himself, so there is no reason why he could not fulfil the dress code requirements,” he said.
Mohd Ali also said the opening ceremony was an official function, so everyone should adhere to the rules and regulations.
Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said Gwee was being extremely disrespectful by refusing to wear the proper attire especially the songkok in the sultan’s presence.
“Wearing the songkok in the presence of the sultan has been a tradition practised for more than a century and in the case of the state assembly it is a tradition dating back more than 50 years.”