Kuala Lumpur – “I can understand but I cannot accept.”
That was the stand of Lawrence Jayaraj, the uncle and guardian to 15-year-old Britney Nicole, the pupil of SMK Seri Mutiara in Cheras who was sent home allegedly for donning the baju kurung to school.
“There’s no misunderstanding. Actually, the policy of the school is, since 2009, they don’t want non-Malay girls to wear baju kurung, and I can understand because they gave me certain reasons,” Jayaraj told Astro AWANI when asked to respond to claims made by the school’s principal, Mohd Amir Abdul Ghani.
Lawrence had been told by the principal that the school, which consists of predominantly non-Muslims, had this ruling since 2009. The school prohibited non-Muslim girls to wear baju kurung to school because apparently, the outfit was ‘more revealing’ as compared to the pinafore.
“And out of convenience’s sake, one of the teachers in charge of student affairs, came up with a ruling that non-Muslims should wear pinafore and not baju kurung,” said Jayaraj.
Jayaraj said he was also asked by one of the teachers to seek financial aid via the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) from Britney’s previous school when he sought compromise and leniency from the school (SMK Seri Mutiara) to let his niece wear her baju kurung until end of the month when he receive his salary.
Jayaraj said Britney had been wearing baju kurung to school since she was 12 and her attire has always been decent — buttoned and non-revealing.
He said it was only this year that Britney decided she would only wear baju kurung to school because the pinafores she tried on during her back-to-school shopping trip with her aunt (Jayaraj’s wife), were too short for Britney’s taste.
In a report by Bernama Thursday, Mohd Amir had said the school never prohibited any non-Muslim female student from wearing baju kurung, but only emphasised that the attire had to be properly worn.
Mohd Amir, who was absent during the incident between Britney and her teacher, had also stated that the issue was a ‘miscommunication’ between teacher and student.
When contacted by Astro AWANI, Mohd Amir declined comments, only saying that the full report by the school has already been filed and forwarded to the Education Ministry for further action.
This issue caused and uproar, particularly in the social media when it was made known that Britney was allegedly told by her school to ‘go home’ because she was wearing baju kurung. Reason being, the attire was ‘meant for Malay female students only’.
Britney, a Form Three student from Sarawak, had left her hometown to move in with her uncle, Jayaraj in Cheras to seek for a better quality education.
Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had said the Education Ministry had never issued a directive stopping non-Muslim female students from wearing baju kurung to school as it was in line with the ministry’s policy to promote unity. – Awani