Let our children play together, says Education Minister


PETALING JAYA: There is no reason for any school to segregate participation in sports by race, says Education Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin.

He said he was shocked and upset when he was informed that the school had issued such a policy for its sports activity selection guide.

Mohd Radzi also stressed that such a policy was not in line with the goals and aims of having sports programmes in schools.

"Immediate and appropriate action has been taken by the Education Ministry," he said in a Facebook post on Saturday (April 17).

According to the document which went viral, participation in football and sepak takraw was only open to Malay male students, netball to Malay female students, while basketball and ping pong are only open to Chinese students.

It also stated that only students staying in dormitories could participate in hockey while other sports like handball, chess, petanque, volleyball, bowling and badminton were open to all.

"When I looked at the guideline, it struck our minds, 'Why did they make such a thing?' Let our children play together, no matter who they are," said Mohd Radzi.

He said that sports was an effective way to nurture national unity, especially among students.

"In sports, all team players will do their best to win. It will never cross their minds that 'I am from a different race'," he said.

"It is the same with sports fans – when a Malaysian team or an athlete joins a competition, regardless of who they are, all Malaysians irrespective of race, will give their full patriotic support," he added.

"Have we forgotten about our national football team that participated in the Olympic Games in 1972 and in the 1980s?

"Do we still remember the success of our national hockey team that clinched the fourth spot at the Hockey World Cup in 1975?

"Didn't we all stand up to cheer when our badminton team won the Thomas Cup in 1992?

"The huge success of our country at the international level was formed based on the spirit of unity of the whole team.

"The joy is experienced by all Malaysians, regardless of who the team members are," he said.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon had earlier said that the school's move to limit sports to a certain race should not have happened.

He struck the incident off as a "one-off case" and said the Johor Education Department had told the school to amend its document.

The school has since issued a new one without the race limitations, he added.

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