Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM and RAHIMY RAHIM
DR Maszlee Malik is upset that an initiative to promote water safety among children has been ridiculed.
“Something so important such as teaching our children on water safety and how to save lives has been misconstrued by the media.
“They focused only on the 1% of what I said and missed the 99%,” the Education Minister said.
Dr Maszlee said his call for hotels to allow schools to use their swimming pools for swimming lessons was merely a suggestion.
He said his suggestion included private clubs that were willing to allow their pools to be used for the water life-saving skills.
“There is no compulsion for the hotels to participate in the programme, but they can do so voluntarily as part of their corporate social responsibility initiative.
“This is the first time that we are introducing such programme as part of the extracurricular activities in schools,” he said, adding such programmes had been implemented in several countries, including Singapore and Britain.
Dr Maszlee said it was vital to teach children water safety and life-saving techniques as more than 100 drowning cases occur every year, especially during holidays and monsoon seasons.
He said it took the ministry several months to come out with the Life-Saving Skills Programme and Water Safety and Rescue Awareness Module for Malaysian Schools 2018.
“Our goal is to make the programme a school subject and that in 20 years’ time, our children will not only be able to swim but also save lives,” he said.
The module was launched on Wednesday but received backlash from parent-teacher associations, hoteliers and education action groups with many expressing deep concern over the safety aspect.