Malaysia in limelight for wrong reasons due to chess dress ban, Guan Eng says

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said DIBS should be reintroduced for houses below RM3000,000, March 10, 2017. ― Picture by KE Ooi
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said DIBS should be reintroduced for houses below RM3000,000, March 10, 2017. ― Picture by KE Ooi

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GEORGE TOWN, May 3 — Malaysia has made international headlines again over the chess tournament dress code controversy involving a 12-year-old girl, said DAP’s Lim Guan Eng.

The Penang chief minister said news of the girl being allegedly banned from a chess tournament because of her knee-length dress is now being spread worldwide in international news.

“This piece of news is in all international media, in Washington Post, in BBC, this is completely unnecessary,”

“This has given people a bad impression of Malaysia,” he said in a press conference at his office today.

He added that chess is a battle of the minds and had nothing to do with the clothes.

Lim was referring to a recent uproar over allegations by a chess coach that his 12-year-old student was forced to withdraw from the National Scholastic Chess Championship in Putrajaya last month due to her attire.

The coach claimed that an official in the tournament had said the girl’s dress was “too seductive” and a “temptation from a certain angle far, far away”.

Lim, who met with the Penang Chess Association (PCA) committee members today, said the PCA has given its assurances that there is no such dress code in Penang.

“So, I just want to say that there is no such dress code in Penang, players need only be decently dressed and in proper shoes,” he said.

PCA president Lee Ewe Ghee said their regulations stated that officials and players should only be “smartly attired” and not to wear slippers to a tournament.

“We require them to wear proper shoes because it is an international tournament,” Lee said.

He said PCA had never disqualified anyone over dress code in the past 10 years.

Lee explained that each chess tournament has different sets of rules so the tournament prospectus will include the dress code for players to adhere to.

He used a tournament in Iran as an example which required female players to wear the hijab and an American player had dropped out of the tournament because she didn’t agree to the dress code.

“Even the national school chess championship by the Education Ministry that was running for over 20 years has very strict dress codes where even the boys were not allowed to wear short pants,” he said.

He said in all these tournaments, players were pre-informed so the dress code was never an issue before the recent incident. 

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