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Friday December 7, 2012

Muslim students not forced to wear tudung, says ministry

PETALING JAYA: Female Muslim students should not be forced to cover their heads with a headscarf (tudung) in school, said Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi.

Although female Muslim students were encouraged to wear tudung and baju kurung in school, he said they were also given the option to wear pinafore and not wear the tudung.

“School principals can encourage, but they can't force female Muslim students to wear tudung. This shouldn't be an issue,” he said.

In a circular issued by the Education Ministry in 1993, it stated that schools didn't have the authority to enforce their own uniform code on students.

Under the circular, three uniform options were given to students pinafore and blouse, baju kurung, kain sarung and tudung, baju kurung and kain sarung.

The circular also mentioned that students were required to follow the uniform code set by the ministry and that they should not be pressured into donning the tudung.

The Star has received several letters recently from Muslim parents in Selangor complaining that their daughters studying in non-religious secondary schools were told to wear tudung by their teachers and school principals.

The Selangor Education Department has confirmed that no circular was issued to force female Muslim students into wearing tudung.

A principal from a secondary school in Kajang said female Muslim students were only required to wear tudung during religious classes.

“Female Muslim students are encouraged to wear tudung. There are those who don't but it's not a problem. We don't force them to wear the tudung,” said the principal, adding that the pinafore was also allowed for Muslim students.

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