'Urine drinking' remarks meant as a joke, says exco member

ALOR SETAR - The teacher who allegedly told pupils to drink their own urine to quench their thirst had actually advised them not to do so, said a state exco member.

Datuk Tajul Urus Mat Zain said when the teacher told the pupils to drink outside the classroom or from the pipe in the toilet, he had told them "jangan minum air kencing kamu pula (don't drink your own urine instead)".

"This has been misinterpreted by the pupils. He has said this in a joking manner. The issue is now resolved and it should not become a political and racial issue," he told reporters here yesterday.

Tajul, who is in charge of the education, transportation and housing portfolio, said the school held a special assembly at 11.15am yesterday to "clarify the matter".

Urging teachers and civil serĀ­vants to be careful with their words, he said "if it is a joke, repeat it a few times to send a clear message".

MIC central working committee member M. Saravanan claimed that state Education Department's school management sector chief Sofaruddin Ismail had promised him that the teacher would be transferred from today to the Kuala Muda District Education office until the matter was resolved.

A complaint letter, written by the Waris Murid-Murid Bukan Islam (Families of non-Muslim students) to the Kedah Education Department director, had since gone viral over social media.

At least 30 parents have filed complaints with the department.

The teacher involved has also lodged a police report claiming to have received threats.

Kuala Muda OCPD Asst Comm Khalil Ariffin said 12 police reports had been lodged by the parents as well.

Many parents have also gathered at the school and the department, demanding for an explanation.

Businessman Jaya Sharma Gopal KR, 37, said he could not accept teachers making such insensitive remarks.

"How could he ask students to drink their own urine? Is this appropriate?" he asked, adding that two other teachers had verified the incident.

The school's authorities had declined to comment.

On Facebook, Deputy Education Minister II P. Kamalanathan said he had directed the department to launch an investigation.