Directive to wear baju kurung: Call on the
Prime Minister and the Education Minister to carry out a thorough
by Kerk Kim Hock
Datin Rahimah Ghazali, principal of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Infant Jesus
Convent, was quoted in the press three days ago as saying that she saw
nothing wrong in imposing the measure requiring students to wear baju kurung
She claimed that the measure was on a trial a basis for 3 months and was
done to promote national unity.
She was also reported to have said that such measure was already introduced
in the teacher training colleges .She revealed that a secondary convent
school in Muar, Johore, had also implemented such a directive.
As such measure is not only ignoring the sensitivity of other communities,
it is in fact tantamount to the hijacking of the national school system
revealed by the Prime Minister on 27.12.2002.
Hence, I have today faxed a message to the Prime Minister and the Education
Minister calling on them to carry out a thorough investigation and to take
the necessary disciplinary actions against those responsible for hijacking
of the national school system through such directives so as to ensure that
such hijacking will not repeat in future.
In his interview with the New Straits Times, the Prime Minister himself had
said that the idea to set up the national school was to cater to all races
but people who ran the schools had different ideas.
He was quoted as saying that in the past, there were no problems with girls
wearing skirts and boys wearing shorts, especially for games but now boys
were forbidden from wearing shorts, even for games, and even games were
He said that such interpretation of Islam put off the non-Malays.
The measure requiring students to wear baju kurung will certainly put off
the non-Malays and such attempt will be seen as a move to make the school
into a Malay school and this perceived assimilation move would definitely
put off many students.
There are non-Malays who choose to wear baju kurung on various occasions or
at their offices, but this is done out of one’s own free will. To make this
into a school regulation, whether done as a compulsory measure or otherwise,
is totally unacceptable. After all, no one will believe that national unity
can be achieved by getting another race to wear the traditional dress of a
As such, I wish to reiterate that, irrespective of whether the measure is a
compulsory directive or otherwise, DAP cannot and will not accept such an
unnecessary and extreme measure which does not respect the sensitivity and
feelings of other communities, but is is also an act of hijacking which will
deviate from the original aim as to why national schools are set up.
I also wish to call on the Prime Minister to direct the Malacca Chief
Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rastam to remove Datuk Haji Long Said as the
State Executive Councilor in charge of state education.
Instead of directing the school principal to rescind the unacceptable
measure, Long Said was quoted in the News Straits Times as saying that the
school must have its own reasons for issuing the directive and that such a
directive might not be made compulsory.
Two years ago, Long Said had offended the Chinese community when he said
that for the government to provide financial allocation to the Pay Fong
Middle School, the only independent Chinese secondary school in Malacca,
would be like “ pouring salt into the sea”.
Cleary, he is unqualified and unsuitable to be in charge of the state
education and should therefore be removed.
* Kerk Kim Hock,
DAP Secretary General and MP for Kota Melaka