IPOH: Politeknik Ungku Omar has retracted its notice requiring all graduating students to wear the songkok or tudung at their convocation on April 15.
Its director, Lt Kol Mohamad Zakaria Mohd Noor, said the institution had received a directive from the Education Ministry on Wednesday not to implement the dress code.
He said a new notice had been issued on the same day instructing male graduands to wear black baju melayu or dark-coloured lounge suits and female graduands to opt for a white baju kurung with or without a tudung or a light-coloured dress.
“We are abiding by the directive and as such students are no longer required to follow the dress code imposed on them earlier,” he said yesterday when asked to comment on objections by some parents over the initially imposed dress code.
The original notice had said it was compulsory for all male graduands to wear a black songkok and a dark suit or baju melayu while female students had to wear a white tudung and white baju kurung or kebarung.
The Star had received calls from irate parents and polytechnic students who said students were instructed to wear the headgear even if they were not Muslims.
Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad said on Wednesday that public education institutions must seek the ministry’s approval before imposing dress codes on students.
The ministry, he said, would stop institutions from implementing rules which were unreasonable or against ministry regulations.
Lt Kol Mohamad Zakaria said the idea of requiring students to wear songkok and tudung had nothing to do with religion and was an effort by the institution to come up with an official dress code for convocations.
“Having the students wear the headgear was a move to make them look elegant in their graduation robes since they would not be wearing the mortar board, being certificate and diploma holders,” he said.
He said he had not anticipated that parents and students would object to the dress code since wearing of the songkok was a common practice among politicians, including non-Muslims, during certain oath-taking ceremonies.
Furthermore, he said, the institution had imposed the dress code only after the matter had been discussed and approved by its graduation committee, which included non-Muslim representatives.
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