KUALA LUMPUR: A Form 3 student was left confused and traumatised when school authorities in SMK Seri Mutiara in Cheras insisted she leave the premises at once because she was wearing a “baju kurung”, formal school attire reserved strictly for Malay students.
Speaking to the Malay Mail yesterday, Britney Nicole said, “I was wearing ‘baju kurung’ in my previous school, so I don’t know what is wrong.”
Saying that even her new friends at the school were concerned about this matter, she explained, “I was told by the teacher that I was being given a final warning and that I won’t be allowed to enter class unless I wore a pinafore. Now, I feel scared to go to school.”
Britney, who is ethnically Lun Bawang, explained that on her first day at school, the senior assistant asked her whether she was Malay or Chinese, to which she replied she was Sarawakian.
Her aunt, Agnes Padan, 35, who was with her at the time, said they were then told Britney would have to wear a pinafore to school the next time.
However since Britney showed up to school again wearing a “baju kurung”, school authorities barred her from entering, and insisted she wait outside the school’s premises until someone could come pick her up to go home.
As it turned out, Britney waited from 7am to 10am when her aunt’s husband, Lawrence Jayaraj, 45, could pick her up.
Speaking to the Malay Mail, her aunt said Britney was told that the school was particular about their dress code and that only Malay girls could wear “baju kurung” while non-Malays were required to wear pinafores.
“I don’t understand how is this an issue. She looks well dressed in her baju kurung and it was not a problem in her previous school.
“She has been wearing baju kurung since she was in Form One. She has worn pinafores before but this year, we only bought baju kurung,” Agnes explained.
Britney’s uncle meanwhile found out that other parents in the school were equally unhappy with the dress code and felt they were being bullied to follow it.
When contacted about this issue, Deputy Education Minister II P Kamalanathan said, “In the first place, this should not have happened.
“The ministry is investigating. If it is indeed true, action will be taken.”
He also said the school had no right to impose the rule for “baju kurung” to be exclusively worn by Muslim students.
School authorities were not available for comment.