Twinning to promote racial integration


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 01 Mar 2003

BY JACQUELINE ANN SURIN

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has called on schools with a predominant racial group of students to embark on “twinning programmes” with schools which have as its student majority a different racial group. 

Citing this as one way to build better racial relations between students, the Deputy Prime Minister said such a linkage could be in the form of sporting and camping activities, especially during the long school holidays. 

“We can bring together 20 Malay, 20 Chinese and 20 Indian students from different schools and then split them up so that each team will have all the races fighting for the victory of their team,'' he said yesterday at a hotel near here during his keynote address at a public forum on 'Vision 2020 Revisited: Continuing with the Next Lap'. 

The public forum was jointly organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute and the Hua Education Foundation and was attended by school heads from the Federal Territory, Selangor and Negri Sembilan. 

Abdullah, who suddenly thought of the “twinning” idea while he was delivering his address, said it was a simple idea that could be easily implemented. 

“I want to share this idea because it has been so difficult to integrate the schools. There is still so much suspicion and prejudice. But this twinning idea is not wrong racially, politically, ideologically or religiously,'' he said, adding that the twinning activities would help alleviate racial and religious misunderstandings in school. 

He said such problems included the recent controversies over alleged racist remarks by a teacher in Puchong and an Ipoh polytechnic's attempt to make students wear songkok and tudung at their convocation regardless of their faith. 

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin said Abdullah's proposal was good, and would be further discussed with the Education Department, adding that it would not be made a mandatory requirement.  

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