Wednesday, January 19, 2011

EC asks MPs to wear national dress in Parliament sessions

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 21:20 Myo Thant

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Newly elected members of Parliament have reportedly been asked by the Election Commission (EC) in Naypyidaw to wear traditional national dress when they attend parliament sessions, according to political party officials.

Members of the Burmese cabinet in traditional dress during World War II.

Members of the Burmese cabinet in traditional dress during World War II.
The EC’s dress code says male MPs must wear a traditional Taik Pone (a jacket), a lungyi (a sarong) and a traditional turban. Female MPs must wear a traditional blouse with long sleeves, a sarong and a scarf.

MP-elect Khin Shwe of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) said that the EC requested MPs to abide by the dress code in its invitation letter to appear at the opening session on January 31.

‘The jacket must be white but the sarong can be any colour’, he said. ‘For female MPs, the blouse must be white’.

According to security restrictions, the MPs are allowed to bring notebook computers and pens with them into parliament hall, but they cannot bring a turban box, cameras, recorders, cigarette lighters or telephones’, he said.

During the era of Burma’s previous parliament, from 1948 when Burma regained independence from the British to 1962 when General Ne Win staged a coup, MPs had no dress code except for the colour of their turbans, said Democratic Party (Myanmar) Chairman Thu Wei.

‘The colour of their turbans was designated as yellow for the Union Party, pink for the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League party and blue for the Union of Myanmar National United Front party. That’s all. There were no other dress codes’, he said.
‘At that time, electronic devices were not yet popular. Now these devices are very popular, and I think they fear these devices’, he said.

According to the 2010 general election, the largest party in both the House of the People and the House of Nationalities is the USDP, which has a clear majority of MPs. Second is the National Unity Party with 63, third is the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party with 57, fourth is the National Democratic Force with 16. The Democratic Party (Myanmar) won three seats.

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