KUCHING: Sarawak Teachers’ Union president William Ghani Bina said he had not come across any circular on the types of food that are allowed or disallowed to be brought into a school.
He was responding to news reports of a pupil being caned by a senior assistant for bringing fried rice with non-halal sausages into his school recently.
“I have never heard of any circular to such affect. In this case, unless the boy had offered his food to others especially Muslim pupils, I feel that all sides should have some sense of tolerance towards each other’s religion and culture.
“The teacher may have good intention to discipline a student but we also don’t want people to feel uneasy over this matter.
“I am sure the school is looking into it and will solve it properly,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.
Teachers or school administrators should not go overboard when giving punishment and they should not get emotional, he added.
While he felt caning was not the right way to discipline a child, he hoped the parents and the school could forgive each other, because to make a ‘1Malaysia’ concept a reality, everyone must be tolerant towards one another.
As for the boy, Ghani said he should continue to go to school without fear and have trust in the school as he believed the principal would handle the matter in a fair manner.
Meanwhile, in a five-paragraph statement to The Borneo Post late yesterday, Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) said it viewed with concern the ruling (to disallow non-halal food into the school) by the school in question.
Sadia president Sidi Munan said the senior assistant should have known the traumatic effect of the caning on the pupil, and the subsequent anger of his parents and their friends.
He said the association felt strongly that the school should enlighten the members of the public as to the rationale of imposing such a rule in a government school, and on a non-Muslim pupil.
“It would be best if the local education department could clarify matters further, before we are forced to ask the Ministry of Education if there is indeed a government policy to ban the consumption of non-halal food by non-Muslim pupils. If there is, then all schools, pupils and parents should be clearly informed of it,” Sidi said.
“We understand that there will be a meeting of school officials on Tuesday to discuss this problem. The public expects to be fully informed about the outcome of this meeting.
“The boy, who as far as the news report states, acted unwittingly, (therefore) deserves at least an apology,” he added.