Will it be colour of school uniforms next, Najib asks Maszlee

In a sarcastic Facebook post, former prime minister Najib Razak says it is a pity Barisan Nasional ministers did not do a study on black school shoes. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has taken a dig at the education ministry over the recent debate on the use of black shoes in schools nationwide, branding its minister Maszlee Malik as “far-sighted”.

In a Facebook post this evening, Najib said he could not understand why anyone would criticise Maszlee over the move, an obvious reference to the criticisms the minister had received since announcing the policy in July.

“The colours of shoes and socks are really important in the development and formation of perfect students. It is a pity that the Barisan Nasional ministers did not do such a study,” Najib, who is the Pekan MP, said.

“Next, it is expected that the minister will study the colours of the clothes and the colours of the school buildings as well. God willing, all of our children will benefit fully and successfully in the future,” he added.

Najib was responding to the ministry’s announcement on Saturday that the black shoes regulation would be enforced in stages beginning next year, with the programme running at full force beginning 2021.

In July, Maszlee was reported to have said that students would wear black shoes to school from next year as many parents complained that white shoes get dirty easily.

Maszlee also said the decision was one of the “innovations” which would be implemented by the ministry to ensure that parents once again choose to send their children to national schools to study.

Various quarters, including the Malaysian Retailers Association, had expressed concern over the new policy, as there was a possibility that manufacturers and retailers might not be able to meet the demand for black shoes.

Following that, Maszlee said the government agreed to give a year for all quarters to make preparations.

Local footwear manufacturer and retailer Bata Primavera Sdn Bhd praised the decision to only enforce the black shoes policy in stages beginning next year, with the programme running at full force beginning 2021.

Bata, nevertheless, questioned the policy on socks as the colour of socks was not specified in the education ministry’s announcement on Saturday.

Currently, students wear white socks and white shoes, while school prefects, librarians and uniform bodies generally wear black shoes with black socks.