Mixed reaction to flexible dress code for Malaysia's Form Six students

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Education Ministry's bid to rebrand Form Six through a flexible dress code has elicited mixed reactions from students and principals.

As the 2015 school year began yesterday, some Sixth Formers were happy to have the choice of wearing traditional outfits and other apparel like batik to school, while others said they would stick to the uniform.

Angelene Estinosa, 19, of SMK Convent Bukit Nanas, said: "It's easy to just wear a uniform, but putting on normal clothes makes me feel more mature."

Abdullah Adam Hamizan, 18, of St John's Institution, noted the hassle of complying to a string of guidelines.

"It adds to the things that you have to think about," he said, adding that he might alternate between uniform and casual wear to school.

SMK Convent Bukit Nanas will start implementing the ruling today, while St John's Institution allowed it from Monday.

The ministry issued a directive last month that Form Six students would no longer be compelled to wear uniform to school.

In George Town, it was clear that most Form Six students were more in favour of uniform.

Upper Six student Siti Shariffah Mohd Ismail said: "School is not the place for fashion shows."

St George's Girls School Upper Six student Lee Shi En said she would rather not waste her parents' money on getting new clothes for school.

L. Mohanapriya concurred.

A secondary school principal, who declined to be named, said it was not supportive of the flexibility.

"Security is a major concern as it is hard to identify students. Outsiders can walk in and cause problems," he said.

Penang Free School principal Jalil Saad said students would be briefed first before it implemented the dressing flexibility in about two weeks.

In Kota Kinabalu, Sixth Formers in several schools were seen starting the new term in their uniforms, with some being told that they could begin donning casual clothing today.

One of the students said he was looking forward to the change as his uniform included a blazer that was often too warm.