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'Separate cups for Muslims and non-Muslim pupils' shock
Published on: Friday, August 11, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Deputy Education Minister Chong Sin Woon said national schools in the country catered to "all" students regardless of what race or religion they belonged to.

He said this following a public outcry sparked by a school's decision that Muslim and non-Muslim students drink from separate cups.

Chong, who is also MCA Youth chief, said he was awaiting the findings of a report by the Selangor Education Department on the matter.

It was reported that Muslim and non-Muslim students at Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Puteri in Ulu Langat were made to drink from separate cups.

The cups, with "Muslim" and "non-Muslim" labels were placed at a water dispenser.

School authorities however declined to comment on the policy, but a canteen worker said that the practice began last year under the school's former principal.

The policy has drawn the ire of many, with G25 – a group comprising former civil servants – describing the practice as "plain stupid".

Amanah Vice-President Mujahid Yusof Rawa described the practice as "unfortunate".

MCA Religious Harmony Bureau chairman Ti Lian Ker hit out at the school authorities, saying the policy promoted prejudice among students.

Parent Madhavi expressed shock over the policy, while school bus operator Chitra Devi said the practice should be stopped as children of all communities should "eat and play together".

"Money changes hands from non-Muslims to Muslims and vice-versa. So this shouldn't be practised," she added.

Another parent, Norsarina Zakaria, was surprised to see the photos that had gone viral over the net earlier.

She disagreed with how the school had labelled the cups.

"Segregating the drinking cups for non-Muslims and Muslims will give a negative impression to the rest.

It's as though Islam is too rigid a religion", she said.

SK Taman Puteri has 219 Malay and 145 non-Malay pupils.

"This is what will happen in single stream schools. Non-Muslims would be taught that they are different and not fit to share a cup with Muslim students," said one politician.

Three years ago, a primary school in Setapak proposed separating Muslim and non-Muslim students to address a shortage of teachers, causing uneasiness among parents.

The school had argued that it was to manage the teaching of Islamic Studies and Arabic for Muslims, and the subjects of Moral, Mandarin and Tamil for non-Muslims.

In 2013, Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Pristana in Sungai Buloh came under fire after non-Muslim students were told to have their meals in a room adjoining a toilet during the month of Ramadan because their Muslim friends were fasting.

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