Thursday, April 24, 2008

Teng explains why DAP changed position on headgear - The Star


For years, he refused to wear the songkok, even turning down invitations which required him to wear the traditional Malay headgear.

But now that lawyer Teng Chang Khim from the DAP is the new Selangor Assembly Speaker, he understood the need to conform.

“Much attention was on whether I would wear the songkok and the ceremonial robe after taking the oath of office. Well, I did.

“I have already explained why we have to change our position before the swearing-in of the state executive council members last month. It should not be an issue anymore,” wrote Teng in the latest posting at

He even put up a picture of himself in full Speaker outfit and smiling outside the State Assembly after the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday.

In the posting, Teng explained that when DAP was in the Opposition before the March 8 polls, leaders had the option not to attend any official function which required the songkok to be worn as part of the dress code.

“The party chose to exercise that option, which had been a DAP policy for years.

“However, now that DAP is a partner in a coalition government, leaders have no choice but to follow the dress code. Otherwise, the coalition government can never be formed,” wrote Teng.

Teng was not the first state assemblyman from DAP to be keenly watched over the wearing of the songkok.

When his fellow party leaders in state government, Ronnie Liu and Ean Yong Hian Wah, were sworn in as executive councillors before Selangor's Sultan Sharaffudin Idris Shah on March 24, much attention was focused on the songkok on their heads as well.

MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong hailed this as a positive development.

“Now, they understand the need to follow rules and regulations. I welcome this development.

“Previously, when MCA leaders wore the songkok at official functions or during an audience with royalty, DAP criticised us, saying we had turned our backs on our culture as the songkok was not part of our traditional wear.

“MCA tried to explain that we wore it out of respect and because it was the culture of our hosts, but our explanations were pushed aside,” said Chong.

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