MALAYSIA-IN-THE-NEWS: The Malaysian Sikh community has a special request. It wants the Education Ministry to issue a directive to all schools that male Sikh students are allowed to grow facial hair, reports The Star (3 March 2015).
Many Sikh students are finding it hard to convince school heads that their religion forbids them from shaving hair from any part of their body, including the beard and moustache, the report added.
Malaysian Gurdwaras Council president Jagir Singh said MGC had raised the matter with the ministry in 2011.
“We wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office in February of that year and appealed for our boys to be allowed to wear a turban, the steel bangle or kara and to keep their facial hair as required by our religion.
“A circular was issued by the ministry the following month to all schools but it had overlooked the part about the facial hair,” the report quoted him in the report entitled ‘Allow Sikh students to sport beard’.
THE REPORT GOES ON:
The council, he said, had consistently received complaints on this matter.
Recently, three Sikh students in Muar, Wangsa Maju and here were told by their school heads to shave their facial hair or have disciplinary action taken against them, including expulsion.
Sikh boys selected for National Service, said Jagir, never encountered such problems because this was stated in a circular issued to all camps. “We cannot be acting on this on an ad hoc basis. We cannot be going to schools and explaining this to the heads all the time,” he said.
National Sikh Youth Organisation president Pavandeep Singh said it had also received many such cases.
“Whenever we receive such a complaint, we have to send our members to explain the matter to the school heads. We found many school heads to be ignorant of this.
“Since there isn’t a clear directive on this from the ministry, they often need a lot of convincing to allow the student to continue studying in the school,” he said.
Education director-general Datuk Seri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof said: “We will look into this and issue a directive soon. In the meantime, schools can always check with us and we would allow it.” – ASIA SAMACHAR (3 March 2015)
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE! Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]