SUNGAI PETANI (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A teacher at a high-performance cluster school here allegedly said non-Muslim pupils can drink their own urine if they did not have any water with them.
The primary school's senior assistant, who is in charge of student affairs, apparently said that non-Muslim pupils could only drink in the toilet and not in the classroom during the fasting month.
However, he reportedly went further and said that those without water could drink from the pipe and if not, consume their own urine.
The teacher, believed to be in his 50s, allegedly made the remarks during an assembly on Sunday.
A complaint letter detailing the incident has since gone viral over social media.
The remarks have not gone down well with many parents, who went to the school to demand an explanation from the school on Monday morning.
At least 30 parents have lodged reports with the police and Kedah Education Department over the matter.
Businessman Jaya Sharma Gopal KR, 37, said he could not accept teachers making insensitive remarks.
He initially doubted the authenticity of the letter, but believed it when two other schoolteachers corroborated the incident.
"How could he ask students to drink their own urine? Is this appropriate?" he asked when met outside the school on Monday.
In a Facebook post, Deputy Education Minister II P. Kamalanathan said he had directed the Kedah Education Department to launch an investigation.
"… they are currently doing that and we are awaiting the results. The teacher will be dealt with seriously for breaching the Ministry's policy if the complaint is true," he said in his Facebook page.
He further said: "… at a policy level the allegations … are definitely not the policy of the Ministry. Also if found true, those responsible will be dealt with seriously for breaching the Ministry's policy."
A Kedah exco member has said the statement was meant as a joke.
State Education, Transportation and Public Works Committee chairman Tajul Urus Mat Zain said the speech of the primary school senior assistant of student affairs was misconstrued.
"He actually said it in a berseloroh (joking) tone.
"What he said was "jangan minum air kencing kamu pula" (don't you instead drink your own urine), which was misinterpreted by the pupils," Datuk Tajul told reporters at his office at Wisma Darul Aman here, Monday afternoon.
He added that with the clarification, the issue was now resolved, and it should not become a political and racial matter.