Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Education Ministry orders school to stop forcing pupils to eat in shower room

The Education Ministry has ordered a Sungai Buloh school to stop ordering its non-Muslims pupils to have their recess meals in the school’s shower room.

Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan in a tweet said he had requested SK Seri Pristana in Sungai Buloh to immediately make a more suitable place available.

Expressing shock over the incident, Kamalanathan told The Malaysian Insider that while the holy month of Ramadan was to be observed with respect by Muslims, non-Muslims should be given the space to meals as usual.

"The month is sacred to our Muslim brothers and sisters and there should be mutual respect. This, however, should not translate to demanding that non-Muslims not eat their meals in public places, in this case the young students.

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“If the canteen is under renovation, a proper place should have been identified, surely not there (shower room)," he said.

However, he requested all quarters not to jump the gun because is dealing with the problem.

Meanwhile a spokesman from the Kuala Selangor district education office said investigations are being conducted by the district office and the Education Ministry.

Officers from both the district office and the ministry were at the school earlier today.

Earlier, MIC education bureau chairman P. Punithan said they complained to the Education Ministry following the reports they had received last night.

“We can’t assume anything, but looking at the pictures we can see that it is particularly Indian students who are seen sitting in what looks like a shower room,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

“If this is found to be true we want immediate action to be taken against the headmaster,” he said, adding that he will be visiting the school tomorrow.

The pictures of the pupils having their meal have gone viral and angered netizens after it was posted on Facebook.

It is believed the school ordered the students to have their meals there because it is the fasting month.

In her Facebook post, Guneswari, a mother, stated: "They (the school) restricted our children to go canteen becoz (because) they (the pupils) will dirty (the canteen) and gave them bilik bersalin n mandi (changing room and shower room) for rehat (recess). They quanteen (quarantine) them not to go out from break.

"Is this fair? Can school treat like this. No food serve n (and) no canteen. That bathroom is full of bacteria n smell becoz (because) its a bathroom n next door toilet with the horrible smell."

She went on to say that when she asked the school about it, the children were sent to another bathroom and to a storeroom. - July 23, 2013.

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