Uproar in Parliament over students' shoes and socks

  • Nation
  • Monday, 29 Oct 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: A question on the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) was momentarily diverted into the issue of school students' shoes and socks by the Education Minister.

As he was explaining on the importance placed by the Pakatan Harapan Government in having a holistic engagement on the UEC, Minister Dr Maszlee Malik suddenly took a swipe at Barisan Nasional lawmakers.

"Not like Barisan MPs, they only place importance on shoes and socks. That is the level of Barisan MPs, they fail to understand," said Dr Maszlee.

Dr Maszlee even praised Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) for understanding the other matters raised by him on plans by the Ministry to transform the education sector.

"Unfortunately, his Barisan counterparts only focus on the issue of shoes. This is the quality of Barisan MPs. They are only interested in such issues," Dr Maszlee added.

Chaos ensued as some Barisan lawmakers were heard shouting.

Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) referred to Dr Maszlee as "Menteri Kasut" (shoe minister).

Datuk Seri Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lengong) was heard shouting - "This is the standard of a shoe minister."

As the attacks continued on both sides, Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Nga Kor Ming defused the situation by switching off the microphones and urged the Minister to continue with his reply.

Dr Maszlee was previously criticised for focusing on the colour of shoes and socks at national schools.

Malay daily Utusan Malaysia had reported that the issue regarding the colour of socks will be decided by the Education Ministry after a discussion with its stakeholders are completed.

The Education Ministry has decided that black shoe ruling for government schools will only be fully enforced in 2021, giving all relevant parties plenty of time to prepare.

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was once an Education Minister, had "lauded" Dr Maszlee for his "farsightedness" in looking to change the colour of school students' shoes and socks.

Najib had also suggested that Dr Maszlee should look into the colour of school uniforms and buildings next.

Dr Maszlee, however, had chided the media for sensationalising the issue and focusing on trivial matters.

Earlier in the Dewan Rakyat, Dr Maszlee said that a special committee has been set up to gather the views of all parties in recognising UEC to ensure that it is agreeable and acceptable by all.

He also said that the committee will be helped by his Ministry to prepare a report to be submitted to the Cabinet to decide on the matter.

"This is because UEC is not just about examinations, but it also involves issues on law, national integration and the future of the children," he said in reply to Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (BN-Padang Terap) who asked to state current status of the holistic study done on the UEC.

Dr Maszlee also said that the committee will present the report to the Ministry next year and will be brought to the Cabinet for a decision.

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