Batu Pahat school turns around
JOHOR BARU: A Johor school’s decision to separate extracurricular activities based on race and gender has been overturned, following a nationwide outcry and intervention by the Education Department.
Over the past few days, a notice posted by Batu Pahat’s SMK Dato Bentara Luar has gone viral, with the notice clearly stating that students should opt for extracurricular activities, including sports, based on their race and gender. .
The controversial move was not well received, with social media users calling the school’s boundaries “racist,” “disgusting” and “discriminatory,” among others.
The original notice signed by a senior school assistant stated that football and sepak takraw are only open to Malaysian students, netball is only open to Malaysian women, while basketball and table tennis are only open to Chinese students of both sexes.
He also said that only students housed in dormitories can participate in hockey, while other sports like handball, chess, bocce, volleyball, bowling and badminton are open to everyone.
Besides sport, SMK Dato Bentara Luar also imposed stipulated breed conditions for certain charity, linguistic and religious clubs.
When contacted, Deputy Education Minister Datuk, Dr Mah Hang Soon, told the Star that he contacted Johor’s education department immediately after learning about the issue.
“I asked the school to cancel the move and change their opinion immediately.
“The incident should not have happened in the first place because it contradicts the five pillars of the National Master Plan for Education.
“Within the framework of the master plan, the promotion of unity is part of the aspirations of the ministry and one of the means to achieve this is sport.
“Sport should unite, not divide,” he said, adding that the school has since released a new copy of the notice without the race and gender limitations, which he also shared with The Star. .
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican also weighed in on the issue via his Twitter account, saying sport should be “color blind across cultural boundaries and act as an agent of unity. “.
“There is no such policy or approach in sports policy. We want to democratize sport from schools.
“Sport shouldn’t be another thing to divide people. May sport be our moment of unity and solidarity, ”he declared.
In a statement, MCA University Students Club president Melvin Saw Shang Kean said extracurricular activities should be a platform for students to add to their knowledge and skills, not discriminate against.
He added that students should have the freedom to participate and practice the sports of their choice, without having to take into consideration their race and religion.
SMK Principal Dato Bentara Luar Abdul Razak Hamid apologized on the school’s Facebook page yesterday afternoon, saying it was a mistake and totally unintentional.
“We neglected the information that was in the notice before it was shared.
“It was not at all our intention to touch on racial issues because the school follows the policies and instructions of the Department of Education.
“It was a mistake on our part because it was due to the lack of rigor. We apologize and promise not to repeat such a mistake again, ”he said, adding that the necessary improvements and corrections had been made.
Previously, he was quoted as saying that the initial limitations were due to the lack of sports facilities for students, as well as “to attract Malaysian students who are not interested in sports to join the different clubs”.
However, the apology notice on Facebook was gone as of 6 p.m. yesterday.