Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak introduced the One Malaysia concept, popularly referred as 1Malaysia, when he took office. Being a multi-racial country, the main aim of 1Malaysia is to promote national unity and to strengthen the ties between various ethnic groups.
Borrowing the branding of 1Malaysia, the state government of Terengganu recently introduces the ‘1Toilet’ policy as a move for both teachers and students (of the same gender) to share toilets to promote a sense of oneness.
“When students share the toilets with the teacher, they (students) will believe that they are on par with academicians and this automatically invokes a sense of being important to an organisation, which, in this case, is the school,” says State Education, Higher Learning, Human Resource, Science and Technology Committee chairman Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman in local daily The Star.
The policy will also extend beyond the loo as teachers are also encouraged to eat at the school’s cafeteria with the students. It is a way for both parties to mingle during recess.
There were mixed reactions from the blogosphere regarding this topic. Some took it as a joke, while others thought it was a positive initiative.
Jeff Ooi, who is a prominent blogger and now a Member of Parliament says:
This time, 1Malaysia's product extension is where you pee.
Life And Ti(m)es Of Liang Seng could not believe that the state government is actually introducing the 1Toilet concept:
I would understand the sharing of canteen part. But to share toilet to instill a sense of belonging and create excellence? Come on. We can do better.
Journalist, blogger and Global Voices author Niki Cheong writes in his personal blog:
Which nutcase came up with this brilliant idea […] I think sharing a toilet with the teacher won’t help a student excel in his or her studies, proper teaching will!
What’s the heck is going on? Are we going to have to start eating 1ton mee after this? Or only listen to 1Buck Short? Or are we going to get people registering names like 1Sharina for birth certificates?
Thots Here And There believes that leaders should walk the talk before implementing any policies:
Why don't we start with the elite groups first before going to the majority? In my school, the upper crust get a special key to their own special toilet […] I know in certain companies in the private sectors there is such a privilege too. I remember a friend being all excited because he had reached that privileged level of having his own key to that special place! Now, if we want to implement such a thing as 1toilet in school – imagine queueing up with the students to use the toilet – let us start with the upper level of administrators first. Leaders talk about 1Malaysia…come on, walk the talk. Show us, leaders of Malaysia that we are one in all ways inclusive in the use of toilet!!!!
Voices Inside My Head explains the positive aspect of the 1Toilet policy:
When I was in school I did wonder the same thing, how come teachers get to pee in seperate toilets. Do they pee differently? Do they have something else we don’t have? I think it should be done across the board, even at work places top management sharing the same toilets! Perhaps even ministers should share the same toilets as other government staff and that’s when I would really say our politicians are walking the talk!
This author, via his personal blog, says:
Teachers should also lead by example and getting the best from their students. If a student is already having an inferiority complex feeling in the classroom, how can he/she invoke a sense of importance with the 1Toilet policy?
Do we have to share the toilet to have a feeling of oneness between students and teachers? Should this solidarity start in the classroom itself?