KUALA LUMPUR - The wearing of baju kurung to school is in no way restricted and in fact, encouraged, says Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
"Baju kurung is a national costume and its use should be encouraged among all schoolgirls, regardless of race," he said.
Muhyiddin was commenting on a report that a non-Muslim student at SMK Seri Mutiara in Cheras here was barred from entering her class and ordered to go home because she wore a baju kurung.
Muhyiddin said the school, which claimed that the student was going against the school's dress code, was making its own rules.
"All schools should refrain from making their own regulations, especially if they are not in accordance with ministry guidelines," he said.
In Petaling Jaya, Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan clarified that it was not the school headmaster who barred the student from entering her class.
"I was told that it was done by one of the teachers and we will find out why and how it happened," he added.
MCA Youth chairman Chong Sin Woon said the disciplinary action against the Form Three student would deprive her of her education.
In a statement yesterday, he said denying students of their right was contradictory to the educationists' role.
He also said that wearing traditional costume of other races would "enhance inter-ethnic respect and appreciation".
Separately, Bernama yesterday reported that the school principal, Mohd Amir Abdul Ghani, said it was a case of "miscommunication and misinterpretation of information by students and parents".
The principal said the school never prohibited any non-Muslim female student from wearing the baju kurung, but only emphasised that the attire had to be correctly worn.
"If they want to wear the baju kurung, the students have to wear them properly, which means buttoning up all the way. When we tell them this, they say we (the school) do not allow them to wear the baju kurung," he said.
Mohd Amir said a discussion was held among the principal, the parent-teacher association and the guardian of the student concerned (complainant) yesterday to resolve the issue.
He stressed that the student concerned would return to school and was free to wear the baju kurung.
Mohd Amir said he was not in school on the day of the incident.
Had he been there, he believed the incident would not have happened and gone viral on social media.