Amid uncertainties, Dr M says won’t touch black shoes policy

Radzi Razak
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporter at a press conference at the Bukhary Foundation, Kuala Lumpur January 17, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — Acting education minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has clarified today that he will not revert the policy for school students to wear black shoes that was introduced by former minister Maszlee Malik.

The prime minister jokingly said that the students are free to wear any colour shoes in school, following questions brought about by a study on the implementation of the policy in schools.

“You can wear brown shoes, black shoes, grey shoes, white shoes [or] any shoes.

“As far as I am concerned, you can wear any shoes,” he told reporters at a press conference after Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s Supreme Council meeting here.

On Wednesday, it was reported that a circular has been delivered by the Ministry of Education telling schools nationwide to survey their students on the uptake of the policy allowing black shoes as part of student uniform.

In 2018, Maszlee announced that the ministry has started gradually allowing black shoes and socks in schools from 2019 before the full implementation in 2021.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir admitted that he is still learning on the job in the ministry which he has temporarily taken over earlier this month, after Maszlee resigned on his advice.

He said that both he and the ministry’s new Director-General Habibah Abdul Rahim are still new, and are still studying if any new policies can be implemented.

“I have a very long meeting yesterday. I am still digesting them. I am a little bit confused because so many facts are presented. So, I have to study them,” he said.

However, just yesterday, Dr Mahathir reversed the minister’s decision to provide free breakfast to all students, instead saying it will now be available only to eligible students.

The free breakfast programme is scheduled to start from January 20.

The scheme was among those Maszlee introduced prior to his resignation as the education minister earlier this month.

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