The Education Minister’s announcement that students will wear black shoes starting next year has caught school shoe manufacturers wrong-footed.
Top company executives are scrambling to meet as they are concerned the new ruling will affect their stock and production for the next schooling year.
An insider from one of the nation’s largest school shoe brands said they were not told how Dr Maszlee Malik came up with the decision.
“We only found out when it was reported in the press yesterday. We have been told to keep mum as our top bosses are meeting to decide what next. They will issue a statement soon.
“Of course, we would like a meeting with the minister to explain our position,” said the source.
He added everything seemed vague at this time. “We have already started producing (white) shoes for next year. We also have shoes that have not been cleared. We have been in touch with our competitors and they too are in the dark.”
Dr Maszlee, had during a question and answer session organised by Sinar Harian yesterday, said the ruling comes following complaints by many parents, especially mothers.
It remains unclear if a nationwide survey was carried out or stakeholders were called in to discuss the matter before the decision was made.
There have been mixed reactions from the masses. Some hailed the move while others claimed it would make children “lazy and indisciplined”.
K. Thiruselvam, had on Twitter said: “Parents are finding it tough getting their kids to wash their school shoes? Parents are going to find it tougher with medical bills when the children have feet and toe infections and smelly feet. Do these children bathe daily, wear washed clothes and sleep on changed bedsheets?”
Surbhi Mohan tweeted: “Had to wash my white shoes and use white shoe polish every week (kinda) because learning to wash your own damn shoes was a responsibility and now kids will never know the struggle cause who’s gonna wash black shoes.”
Tan Sri Rais Yatim was baffled over the switch in colours and asked wasn’t disciplinary issues a bigger priority for the ministry.