Allow Sikh students to sport beard – The Star

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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]

2 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Fellow Sikhs.
    The sad part of our community is we do not do Public Relations.
    We spend all our energy on other things but i think Public Relations about
    our community is very important.

    We do not educate people regarding our Sikh way of life and
    the fundamentals of what we are expected to do as Sikhs and why we do it.

    Instead of putting all our assents on celebrating the function like Vaisaki we could use some of our financial assets to take a one page advertisement in the Star paper and the Utusan Melayu to explain the Sikh way of life. This will help to educate the general public on Sikhs. Zubedy a non Sikh has taken out such advertisements in the past during Vaisakhi . He is not a Sikh but a Malaysian who cares about integration.

    I feel the best time to do this during Vaisakhi when we have the media and the politicians present. This will be free but we must know how to make use of the politician and the media.

    It is normal for politicians to ask the organizer to prepare a draft speech for them. This is our golden opportunity to plant messages as what a Sikh is required to do. At least the bit about our dress code can be slipped into the speech the politician is going to make. If we know the art of speech writing it would sound very interesting to the audience.

    If the politician does not take the bait of using our speech then the Sikh leader who is giving the welcoming speech should make use of the opportunity to educate those present and those listening to him speak to educate them. I hope the Coalition of Sikh Organisations will not miss the opportunity on the 25th of April at the Selangor level Vaisakhi Celebrations.

  2. Such heads of schools, who are NOT educated enough to understand the fundementals of other religions, need to quickly understand that they are threading on the constitutional rights of the Sikh religion.A right that is clearly enshrined in the federal constitution.

    This is also further supported by the definition in the laws of 21 countries, and further secondary statues of many more countries.

    For Sikhs, it is also infringing upon human rights to suggest that beards be shaved or hair removed.

    I can understand that these simply trained and so called qualified heads of education, may have seen the widespread blasphemous activity among many Sikhs of shedding their hair,assumed it is not necessary part of Sikh faith, are terribly wrong and have assumed very wrongly.

    Maintaining and keeping the bodily hair is an essential Article of the faith, without which the so called “Sikh” is incomplete in his religion as defined in the definition of a Sikh, world wide.

    I am shocked that despite 165 year presence in the country,people in responsible positiosn with little idea of education remain ignorant of other religions’ sensitivities.This can be corrected by learning about other religions, instead of wrapping one’s self in a coccoon.There is a larger world that exists out there than yours.

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