BANGKOK — As parliamentary debate over Thailand’s next prime minister dragged into the sixth hour, discussion was derailed into scrutiny of a Future Forward MP’s attire.
Senator Porntip Rojanasunand took to Facebook Wednesday afternoon to criticize the outfit of Future Forward Party MP and party spokesperson Pannika Wanich as inappropriate.
“On my first day in parliament…upon seeing the outfits of some members, I doubted whether they were in mourning dress. Attire has to be all black according to the tradition. Wearing such an outfit is not traditional, or does it suggest something else?” Porntip wrote in a now-deleted post with an image of Pannika in her suit.
The MP’s outfit consisted of a pantsuit: a gradient black-white blazer with black pants from the designer Poem.
In response to the scrutiny of her outfit, Pannika urged her detractors to return their focus to the debate over the country’s next prime minister.
“I believe that my outfit is appropriate for the parliamentary meeting. The gist of today’s meeting is to choose the prime minister and exchange visions because Thailand has not had a democratically-elected prime minister for five years, rather than to emphasize who is wearing what,” Pannika told reporters.
MPs and other public officials are wearing black for 21 days to mourn former PM and chief royal adviser Prem Tinsulanonda, who died at the age of 98 on May 26.
Although Porntip quickly removed the post, it was enough to spark online debate over the ombre suit.
“Before saying that other people are dressed inappropriately, please go dye your hair to be a more formal, proper color. It’s way worse than whatever she’s wearing. Don’t impose a standard that others have to be measured up against while you’re this crooked,” Wunfasai Traiphuwanarot wrote under a Khaosod news post about the drama, referring to Prontip’s red-streaked hair.
On satire page Double Standard’s post about the pantsuit, Karnchat Yotinpattaranan wrote, “Wearing this is not recommended. The material might be nice and light, but it’s such a heavy burden on others when you wear it.”
Porntip, 64, is known for her forensic science career and outlandish hair. In 2010, she claimed bogus bomb detectors used by security officers were effective and was later re-appointed as the head of the country’s forensic institute.
Last week, Pannika was also attacked in a Facebook video by a Phalang Pracharath Party MP Parina Kraikup, who addressed Pannika with the rude suffix “E”.
Additional reporting: Asaree Thaitrakulpanich