JOHOR BARU: A school in Batu Pahat has apologised for its mistake of segregating co-curricular activities based on the race and gender of its students.
SMK Dato Bentara Luar principal Abdul Razak Hamid issued the apology on the school’s Facebook page, saying that the policy was not made on purpose.
“The school overlooked the information stated in the notice related to the registration of co-curricular activities before it was shared," said Abdul Razak.
“It was not our intention at all to touch on any racial issues as the school upholds the Education Ministry’s policies and instructions," he added.
Abdul Razak said the circular was a mistake on the school's part due to a lack of thoroughness.
“We would like to apologise and promise not to repeat such a mistake again. As such, we have made the necessary improvements and corrections accordingly, ” he said.
The apology was posted at 2.07pm on Saturday (April 17), and it came after a national uproar following the school’s initial notice that made rounds on social media since it came to light a day earlier.
Before this, Abdul Razak was quoted as claiming that the limitations were due to the lack of sporting facilities for the students as well as "to attract Malay students who are not interested in sports to join the various clubs".
The initial notice had stated that football and sepak takraw are only open to Malay male students, netball is only open to female Malay female students, while basketball and ping pong are only open to Chinese male and female 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.
Earlier, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said the school’s move to limit certain sports and activities based on the student’s race and gender was not in line with the ministry’s aspirations.
He struck the incident off as a “one-off case” and said he contacted the Johor Education Department to inform the school to amend the notice.
The school has since issued a new notice without race and gender limitations, he added.