It has come to the public's attention that a primary school in Hulu Langat, Selangor has a policy to ensure that Muslim and non-Muslim students drink from separate cups
Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported yesterday, 10 August, that Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Puteri has sparked controversy as Malaysians are worried about how students are being segregated according to their respective religion in government schools.
FMT paid a visit to the school and found cups labelled "Muslim" and "non-Muslim" placed next to a drinking water dispenser.
According to a canteen worker who wished to remain anonymous, the practice has been ongoing since last year under the previous school principal, who has been transferred to another school following a four-year tenure.
It was reported that there are 219 Malay and 145 non-Malay pupils in the school.
Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon has responded to the controversial issue, stressing that "national schools are for all, regardless of race and religion"
Chong, who is also MCA Youth chief, told reporters that he is waiting for Selangor Education Department's report on the matter.
Meanwhile, MCA Religious Harmony Bureau chief Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker has condemned the school authorities for introducing such a "xenophobic" policy.
"As a school head, the former headmaster of SK Taman Puteri should be setting a positive example by imparting among his pupils, teachers and staff, the values of 1Malaysia, unity in diversity and not racism, religious superiority over others," he said in a statement.
Ti also urged the education ministry to probe the former headmaster who has been transferred to another school, and to check if "such bigoted practices are enforced there too".
Earlier, it was reported that attempts to reach Ministry of Education (MOE) failed, while the school had declined to comment when contacted by reporters.
Following media reports on the policy, there has been a public outrage over the issue.
Many have voiced out their concern of how this might just be the beginning of more policies that are divisive in nature.
Meanwhile, the Perak mufti has said that there is no such teaching in Islam that forbids Muslims from sharing cups with non-Muslims
The matter gained widespread attention when a politician highlighted the matter on Wednesday, 9 August
Seberang Perai Municipal Council member Satees Muniandy took to Facebook to criticise the school, saying that the practice of segregating drinking cups is "a new level of bigotry".
"Children are being taught to not use cups that are used by students of a different religion. This is the kind of national unity that is being instilled; to always put ahead differences rather than similarities!" he wrote in the post.
Do you think the school should stop implementing the policy to segregate drinking cups? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.