Parliament probe missed the mark, says lawyer

By Reena Raj

PETALING JAYA, April 14 — How can an investigation be complete without speaking to the complainant?

That was the question raised by Women’s Aid Organisation assistant treasurer Meera Samanther, who was recently barred from entering the Parliament building as her skirt was deemed too short.

Unhappy with the investigation, she said the findings were “incomplete and disingenuous” and pointed out no one from Parliament had contacted her for her statement.

Parliament’s corporate communications division head Tengku Nasaruddin Tengku Mohamed had said in a statement on Wednesday Meera was denied entry because of safety reasons as they did not have prior information of her attendance.

He said the results of the investigation contradicted Meera’s claims.

Meera, a lawyer, said the report focused on her encounter with the security office at the entrance, which was a non-issue. 

She said she referred to the checkpoint where visitors pass through a metal detector and have their bags scanned.

“It was at this checkpoint that the length of my skirt became an issue of contention,” she said.

“This incident should have been the subject matter of investigation. The probe missed the mark entirely.”

Meera said the investigators should have obtained her statement as she was the main subject. 

“I could have pointed out to the investigators they have interviewed the wrong set of security guards and reviewed the wrong set of closed-circuit television cameras. Sadly, no one contacted me,” she said.

Meera had visited Parliament with several others from the non-governmental organisation to meet Ipoh Barat MP M. 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.

She was wearing a knee-length skirt which she had worn to court previously without any issues.

Indira’s daughter, Tevi Darsiny, was also barred from entering Parliament for not adhering to the dress code, while Meera’s colleague Tan Heang-Lee, who also wore a knee-length skirt, was told to get out of her car at the guardhouse so security personnel could make sure her skirt was “decent” enough for her to enter Parliament.