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LETTER | Batik is a living heritage of our nation. It should be something to be proud of and be worn and accepted in daily and formal settings.

Sadly, the batik which reflects our culture has been relegated as a seemingly inferior choice in our august house and is a choice only on Thursdays.

Every time a Western rock band or singer hits town, our politicians sing the same tune, we are Asians, and have our own unique values and cultures.

These bands with their presumed liberal lyrics on love, drugs, sex and loud music are deemed an affront to our values and culture.

Yet, the MPs are more than glad to parade as clothes horses for Western suits and ties which are unsuitable for our climate unless there is near arctic temperature air conditioning blowing at gale force around.

Most suits are made from imported materials, and the expensive brands are fully imported ready-made. There is little added value even when the suit is made locally.

A suit with a shirt and tie is over-dressed in our tropical climate and a lower air conditioning setting is needed to keep comfort level.

Air conditioning usage emits greenhouse gases and lower temperatures mean more greenhouse emissions.

As such, batik should be worn at all Parliament sessions and at formal functions by MPs and ministers to showcase this classic and practical clothing and be models for the masses to follow. It can be worn on any occasion or anywhere and will not be out of place.

Batik is designed and made locally, helps the local economy and is environmentally friendly and sustainable.

The lightweight material, especially if natural material is used, makes it cool to wear. There is little need for low air conditioning settings with a batik shirt.

Clothes maketh a man, it is said and batik makes our nation and heritage unique.

All this talk of pride in our unique Asian culture amounts to nothing if our leaders are reproachful towards batik.

It is time for our leaders to wear batik daily for national pride, local economy, environment and sustainability.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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