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Malaysia: Education Ministry concerned over segregation of drinking cups at school, calls for inclusivity

| 11 August, 2017
 C PREMANANTHINI

KUALA LUMPUR | August 11, 2017 @ 5:26pm

The Education Ministry has expressed regret over an incident where a primary school in Hulu Langat had segregated drinking cups between Muslim and non-Muslim students, on Thursday.

According to an English daily, it was reported that the school had labelled the drinking cups "Murid Islam" (Muslim students ) and "Murid bukan Islam" (non-Muslim students), placed next to a water dispenser.

Parents and netizens were irked by the incident and condemned the school for carrying out such disgraceful act.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan said he was disappointed with the unfortunate incident at the school where Muslim and non-Muslim students were required to drink from separate drinking cups.

"I am extremely disappointed with the unfortunate incident at Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Puteri Hulu Langat.

"I wish to stress that the Ministry of Education does not condone such actions and has since ordered the school to rectify the decision, " he said when contacted by New Straits Times today.

He said the ministry is always sensitive to the multi-racial composition of students in schools.

He added that this unfortunate decision does not reflect the spirit and objectives of the ministry to cultivate and promote national unity and understanding.

He also said acts like these should not have taken place.

"The state education department has already rectified the issue but as far as I'm concerned it should not have happened at all.

"All school leaders and authorities should take heed from this bitter experience and strive to ensure they are not repeated, " he said.

He pointed out that every action needs to take into account the sensitivities of all individuals before it is implemented.

"I urge all authorities to look at the big picture when making a decision that affects the students. We, as in all Malaysians, and more so in those in the Education Ministry need to find common ground that encourages inclusivity and unity.

"For as a nation nothing is more important than tearing down walls and building bridges in this wonderful land we call home, " he said.

Meanwhile, Selangor Education Department Director Mohd Salleh Mohd Kassim said that the department had investigated the matter and that the labels were ordered removed.

Amidst the controversy swirling around the issue, Mohd Salleh has urged the public not to dwell on the incident and to put it behind them.

“The initiative (to segregate the cups) was taken by the principal in question after seeing that students liked to drink from the water dispenser without cups. So the school (affixed the) labels.

“The move, however, did not sit well with the parents of students,” he told reporters during a dengue patrol campaign in SK Seksyen 9 here today.

Mohd Salleh said the principal in question had informed the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of the labels before affixing them.

“But the issue is in the past and the department hopes that students would use their own cups and bottles,” he added.

Copyright New Straits Times