Skirt issue: Probe focussed on wrong incident, says lawyer

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PETALING JAYA: Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) assistant treasurer Meera Samanther, who was recently denied entry into Parliament because of the length of her skirt, says the investigation into the issue focussed on the wrong incident.

She said the investigation only focussed on the first checkpoint at the front gate, and not on the second checkpoint where the length of her skirt was an issue of contention.

“The first checkpoint is the only incident that they referred to. They didn’t speak about the second checkpoint,” Meera told The Star today.

She said the first checkpoint was a non-issue, but the second checkpoint was where the trouble with the length of her skirt began.

“The second checkpoint is located within the Parliament building where bags are scanned and visitors have to walk through metal detectors,” she said.

Meera said it was at this checkpoint that the length of her skirt became an issue, and so this incident should have been the subject of the investigation.

Parliament’s head of corporate communications Tengku Nasaruddin Tengku Mohamed has denied Meera’s claim that she was not allowed into Parliament because of her skirt length.

“Meera arrived at 9.01am. The permission was given seven minutes later after security personnel confirmed with Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran that she was his guest.

“The results of the investigation contradict with what Meera claimed. She was not stopped for indecent dressing,” Tengku Nasaruddin said yesterday.

He added that Meera was barred from entering Parliament grounds because of safety reasons as they did not have prior information of her attendance.

It was reported that on April 5, Meera had gone to Parliament with other WAO members to meet Kulasegaran and M Indira Gandhi following the deferment of the debate on the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill to the next Parliament session.

Meera, who is also a lawyer, said she was wearing a knee-length skirt, and that she had even worn it to court before and was not stopped by security there.

According to The Malay Mail, Indira’s daughter, Tevi Darsiny, 19, was also barred from entering Parliament for not adhering to the dress code.

“Tevi was wearing tight pants with red sneakers which violated the dress code.

“She was finally allowed to enter after agreeing to change to a different footwear. We also allowed her in at the insistence of Kulasegaran, who was present at the main gate,” Tengku Nasaruddin was quoted as saying.

Another WAO member, Tan Heang Lee, had also complained about being told to get out of her car at the Parliament building guardhouse when security personnel saw she was wearing a skirt. They had allegedly told her they needed to check if her skirt was “decent”, The Malay Mail reported.

“They were only performing their security duties by asking her to step out of the vehicle for an inspection.

“There was no issue as she was given a visitor’s pass after the security personnel were satisfied with her attire,” Tengku Nasaruddin said.

According to Tengku Nasaruddin, Parliament staff had taken three days to comb through CCTV camera footage and recorded statements from security personnel in their investigation into Meera’s allegations.