BUKIT MERTAJAM: A school here will refund all Muslim well-wishers who were inadvertently given envelopes with Big Sweep tickets inside as a token of appreciation for donating money towards the school’s fundraising effort.
Jit Sin Independent High School principal Tan Kee Keat apologised to all those who were offended by the gesture, stressing that the school had reminded its students to avoid presenting Muslims with the envelopes containing Big Sweep lottery tickets worth RM3 each when seeking public donations.
“It has been a practice of the school to give out lottery tickets inside envelopes to all donors who contribute toward the school’s fundraising efforts.
“However, this method is only among many other activities we are conducting to raise funds for the development and sustainability of the school, which is celebrating its 100th year anniversary this year,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Muslims offended by the gesture can approach the school authorities to get a refund, he said.
It is learnt that students of the school were told to collect public donations of RM10 per person, and then present the donor with an envelope containing a Big Sweep lottery ticket worth RM3.
The students were spotted approaching the public, especially in Jalan Pasar here, where the Hungry Ghost Festival is taking place.
A company sales manager who wished to be known only as Ooi, 35, claimed the school oddly turned down her request for a refund.
“I went to the headmaster’s office to seek a refund because I was sold an envelope without anything written on the cover saying there is a Big Sweep ticket inside. I do not support the practice of promoting gambling among students.
“I understand that independent schools are constantly desperate for funds but as a respected educational institution, elements of gambling should never be encouraged,” she said, adding that she felt the practice was unethical.
Meanwhile, netizens have shared mixed views over the issue.
“When people give you something, you should say thank you and not complain.
“If you think the gift is inappropriate then you can choose not to accept or give them away for a good cause,” said Raymond Chong.
“I see no reason to complain, anyway it’s a win-win solution,” said BM Chiam.
Sarimah Samad-Imran, however, had an idea towards a different approach.
“When I collected donations for my school last time, we gave out pocket calendars to donors. The gift should be well thought out before the school sends the kids out to collect donations,” she said.
Penang Education Department director Mohd Jamil Mohamed said it was not illegal for the school to give lottery tickets as a token to donors, but stressed that elements of gambling is prohibited in all government schools.