Scrap the traditional outfit ban, urge teachers

Tuesday June 12, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/6/12/nation/11461793&sec=nation

By SARBAN SINGH
sarbans@thestar.com.my

SEREMBAN: Teachers are appealing to the Education Ministry to rescind a 1985 directive which prohibits them from wearing the traditional costumes of other races to work.

They feel the directive, which also covered female lecturers at teacher training colleges and polytechnics, as well as ministry staff at district and state levels, was not only illogical, but created an unnecessary obstacle in the promotion of racial unity.

The Star received several complaints from teachers who had been reprimanded by school heads for violating this provision included in a circular issued in May 1985.

A teacher in a mission school in Kuala Lumpur said staff were regularly reminded about the directive by the headmaster.

“As teachers, we should instead be encouraged to wear the traditional costumes of other races to promote unity,” she said.

Another teacher from a school in Port Dickson said many new teachers did not know of the directive, and that it was unfair when one of her colleagues was reprimanded for wearing the traditional attire of another race.

National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Loke Yim Pheng said the union had raised the matter with the Education Ministry several times and hoped the directive would be reviewed. Loke said a new set of guidelines should be introduced so school heads would not interpret the directives as they wished.

National Parent-Teacher Association Collaborative Council president Assoc Prof Datuk Mohd Ali Hasan said: “I don’t see why a Malay teacher for example, cannot be allowed to wear a Punjabi suit or a Hindu teacher, the cheong sam.

“In the spirit of 1Malaysia, we should be encouraged to experience the cultures of other races without any unnecessary restriction.”

Cuepacs president Datuk Omar Osman said the directive was irrelevant and needed to be revoked.

Deputy Education Minister Dr Fuad Zarkashi said there was merit in the request made by teachers. He would raise the matter with Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.