Christian students are being prohibited from wearing the crucifix in a school in Keningau, with those defying the ban risking caning and suspension, the Daily Express reported.
According to the local English daily, the ban imposed by Sekolah Menengah Ken Wah has angered parents and students as well as caused confusion and uneasiness.
The regulation, it was reported came under Kebersihan Diri (personal cleanliness) and stated that students were barred from wearing jewellery and religious symbols.
â€œNon-Muslim students, especially Christians, are required to obtain permission first from the schoolâ€™s disciplinary board if they wish to wear the crucifix,â€ the Daily Express reported.
The paper reported that the ruling was confirmed by a senior teacher who said students would be issued a pass once they got approval to wear religious symbols on school grounds.
Students were also required to bring along the pass with them to school.
â€œWe donâ€™t want the students to abuse this privilege by wearing jewellery to school instead of the religious symbols,â€ the teacher was quoted as saying.
She also claimed that the school regulation was in line with the guidelines issued by the Education Ministry.
The regulations had supposedly been in effect since 2009.
A parent, who alerted the Daily Express, said he became aware of the regulation after attending the briefing for parents who recently enrolled their children to the school concerned.
â€œHer explanation about make-up, jewellery and hair was normal for any school but I was taken aback when she said that students are also not permitted to wear the crucifix without getting prior approval from the disciplinary board,â€ the newspaper quoted that parent as saying.
Last week, the Labuan Matriculation College â€” which grabbed headlines in 2012 over the alleged conversion of several Christian students to another faith â€” made the news for allegedly asking Christian students who wanted to pray to do so under the trees in the compound.
The college, it was also reported, supposedly imposed a condition that non-Muslim students intending to participate in the Studentâ€™s Parliament must don the songkok and tudung.-Rakyat Post