PETALING JAYA: The principal of Dato’ Bentara Luar secondary school in Johor has apologised for implementing racial and gender restrictions on the registration of co-curricular activities at the school.
Abdul Razak Hamid in a statement this evening admitted that the school had overlooked the information stated in the registration form for co-curricular activities distributed to Form 1 students, which had touched on racial sensitivity.
Previously, he defended the move, telling FMT that the “conditions” were necessary because of the lack of sporting facilities for the students.
“We had never intended for it to spark this issue (about race) at all. The school will continue to reinforce and comply with government policies and instructions,” he said today.
He said the school has since rectified the mistake, adding that it will also withdraw an online registration form uploaded via “Google Forms” on April 15 for improvements.
“Re-registrations will be done in the near future by distributing the registration form for sports and clubs activities to all students, and students may choose the sport and club they are interested in,” he said.
However, this will still be subject to restrictions on the number of participants that will be set by the school, so student involvement will be balanced in terms of quantity, race and gender.
According to the note originally issued by the school on the registration for co-curricular activities, the students’ choices for sports were limited to their race.
Football and sepak takraw were open for “Malay males only”, while the basketball club was reserved for “Chinese males and females”.
Hockey, meanwhile, was open only to students living in dorms, while only Malay girls could join the netball club.
Sports like handball, bowling, petanque and badminton, however, were open to all.
The policy was overruled today by deputy education minister Mah Hang Soon who called it a mistake by the school principal as it contradicts the National Education Blueprint.
Education minister Radzi Jidin said sports has proven effective in promoting and strengthening racial unity in the country and these efforts should not be wasted by establishing a racial segregation policy for co-curricular activities at school.
As such, he said he was shocked and saddened by the move by a secondary school in Johor to segregate sports according to race.