Culture Education

12 ridiculous Sekolah Kebangsaan rules! Have you had worse?

You guys probably know the story about SMK Seri Mutiara Form 3 student Britney Nicole who was told to leave school for wearing the baju kurung uniform. Their rule is, only Malay students are allowed to wear it. Principal Mohd Amir Abdul Ghani said was just a misunderstanding and that students just need to button up all the way. But Britney’s uncle, Lawrence Jayaraj insisted that the rule exists, dating back to 2009. Gahhh! Which is it now? So confusation!

Is your head spinning head? Ya, school rules have a tendency to do that sometimes, kan? Remember all those rules and practices we used to kena tangkap for by pengawas-es in school? Some of them annoyed us and some of them were downright whacky. One of our writers recalls a rule in a girls’ school which required students to curtsey while greeting the teachers. Downton Abbey much?! LOL!

So we asked around for more random and ridiculous school rules and here are your stories…

1. No Valentine’s Day

Interact Club selling heart-shaped balloons and flowers. Image from their Facebook.

Interact Club selling heart-shaped balloons and flowers. Image from their Facebook.

They cancelled V-Day celebrations at school after two Form 2 kids were spotted smooching or something. The guy had given the girl a bouquet and following that, Interactors and Leos couldn’t sell stuff for V-Day. We still did, but called it Friendship Day instead. Haha.” – Nabilah Hamid, 25, Performer, Secondary school in Subang Jaya

2. No long nails… unless you’re a guitarist

School concert guitarist. Image from SriAraSchools on Flickr.

School concert guitarist. Image from SriAraSchools on Flickr.

Cannot have long nails unless you’re a guitarist, but then only on fingers required to pluck. Certain fingers on one hand can be long, depending on the guitarist. Thumb and index fingers, if I remember correctly” – Aiman Azri, 28, Editor, Secondary school in Sri Hartamas

3. Only skin-coloured bras allowed

Skin coloured bras in school allowed

Image from Lipstick Alley.

“Girls school here. We were all only allowed to wear skin-coloured bras. Yes, the prefects would inspect from the sides of our pinafores, if not through baju kurung. Once, a student was called out because she was wearing a black bra… to which she retorted, ‘You said skin colour mah!’ Said student was Indian btw.” – Rachel Law, 25, Writer, Secondary school in Pudu, KL

4. No long hair fringe

Cut long fringe from the K

“For a while, they used a Kilometrico pen to measure the length of your fringe. If you pass the ‘K’, kena potong. The top and the fringe… they start from the top of the pen till the ‘K’. Means, the top of the pen cucuk on our head, they pull the hair upwards.” – Brendan Teh, 29, Production Engineer, Secondary school in PJ

5. No boy’s phone number in your book

Image from Paper Diaries.

Image from Paper Diaries.

“Not a black & white ban la, but I was questioned about having a boy’s phone number in my mini keychain phone book.

Lemme cerita sikit: This was back in 1997. I just transferred to this co-ed school. Few weeks later, boom, spot check! Teacher went through my stuff, found my mini keychain phone book and questioned me: ‘Why do you have so and so’s phone number here?’ This dude’s a well-known bad boy btw. I told him: ‘Erm, coz he gave it to me la.’ Teacher: ‘Kalau saya panggil awak naik atas pentas, masa perhimpunan, macam mana?’ Me: ‘Panggil lah, Saya tak buat salah.’ Teacher: ‘Betul ni?! Saya panggil awak atas pentas.’ Me: ‘OK.’ He never did.

Cannot ‘couple’ also. Those who are guilty of that had to go through counselling and break up in front of the counsellor. Bodoh gilerr babeng. Like giler babeng.” – Zara Nasarudin, 32, Features & Lifestyle Editor, Secondary school in Bandar Baru Bangi

6. Dilarang berkelakuan seperti pondan

Stupid school rules omg so funny. Image from Batman.

That secondary school in PJ. Image from Batman… sort of…

“We can’t wear white tees inside coz idk why. Haha. Also since it’s a boy’s school, I did spot some rule on a government-sponsored discipline board saying, ‘dilarang berkelakuan seperti pondan, bohjan, etc.’

Then we would have free haircut sessions during every assembly. One thing lacking is that teachers don’t charge students.

Cannot bring phone, but everyone still brings. We also have this thing called the DC line, where prefects would have cards with everyone’s name in it, with the listed offenses ranging from codes D,U and M. Meaning Discipline, Uniform and Major. But since I was a prefect, none of the above mentioned really bothered me. I enforced them. Hahaha.” – Batman, 19, Student, Secondary school in PJ

7. Plastic bottles not allowed

Mineral water and beer question marks.

“My secondary school actually outlawed plastic mineral bottles coz the headmistress said drinking from them, made it look like we were drinking alcohol. Hahahahaha. We had to go buy like tumblers or sports bottles.

Ironically one of my friends resorted to using a beer bottle that looks like one of those Ikea bottles with the snap off cork? This is before Ikea had those bottles… I think.” – Amelia Chen, 31, Actor, Secondary school in Taman SEA

8. Boys and girls cannot touch

Boys and girls cannot be too close together in school.

“One of the lightly enforced/for-show rules in our school, that the minimum distance between a boy and girl can be seen walking or talking together (during break time or outside class) is the length of their arms stretched, finger tip to finger tip but can not touch one another. Lightly enforced only la. The headmistress got musim for these kind of stuff.” – Bacon Superman, 27, Editor, Secondary school in USJ

9. Boys must wear short pants

Image from Alvin Looi.

Image from Alvin Looi.

“Secondary Chinese school boys must wear green short pants that cannot cover the knees. Only prefects could wear white long pants. We also heard from friends that Penang Chinese girls’ high school, cannot have photos of any boy in your purse. Cannot be fetched on a bike by a male, even if he is your brother.” – Alvin Looi, 40, Group Exercise Manager, Secondary school in Georgetown, Penang

10. Speak only in English or BM

Oh My Englishc crew. Image from

Unedite image from

“My school said we (all-girls school) can only wear black, white, blue or maroon (school colour) hair accessories. Also, if you speak any language other than English and Malay, and you get caught doing so, you will be given demerit points. Pff. Face of wrist watch must be no bigger than the old 20 cent coin.” – Sasha, 26, Free spirit, Secondary school in Ipoh

11. No plucking your eyebrows

Image from Trey Ratcliff on Flickr.

Unedited image from Trey Ratcliff on Flickr.

No plucked eyebrows or the school ustazah has a field day on your face with a permanent marker. About eight girls were walking around with a big marker unibrow and the teachers all thought it was funny. Unibrow summore!

There was one time when we were supposed to pray and only about five girls were praying, the rest claimed to have their period. The ustazah felt them up to check!” – Rosheen Mutalip, 31, Theatre Manager, Secondary school in Kuching, Sarawak

12. Dilarang megguna tisu di sekolah

No tissues allowed in school

Unedited image from What the Flicka?

My secondary school, no tissue. Seriously. Especially for someone who has sinus problem, the thought of using the same handkerchief again and again is very, very unhygienic. The rule was enforced in 1998 when I was in Form 1. According to the Pembantu Pengetua Petang, it was to curb littering tissue paper in the school compound.

It was only in Form 2 in another classroom that I only realised one of the reasons why they banned it… some mischievous students threw wet crumpled tissue up so that it stuck to the ceiling.” – Wei Wong, 29, Secondary school in KL

So should schools be allowed to set their own rules?

Minister of Education Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin warned all schools not to set their own rules outside of Ministry regulations.

Why do schools do that in the first place? Well, we have a theory. Sometimes teachers get transferred from one school to another. Sometimes it’s far far away in another state. So maybe they bring their previous school traditions into new environments?

As teachers, they can propose new rules during meetings, as Pengetuas they have even greater influence to change school rules directly. But this is just a theory la.

Image from tian yake on Flickr.

Happy teacher, happy students. Image from tian yake on Flickr.

It’s no picnic for the teachers either. New school, new colleagues, new students… and they have to look for new houses. Not cheap! We know for sure that this state transfer practice is not something all teachers look forward to. Especially those who already have their own families. Some of them have to travel long-distance to see their spouses and kids back home. Read one teacher’s story here.

Whatever the rules were, they made our school life very memorable. So you see, the Education Ministry’s rules are there for a reason and schools should probably just stick with the…………….uniform!


Meet the blind Malaysian who taught us how to use MS Excel


  1. Ssp

    04/06/2015 at 11:58 am

    Another RIDIC rule from when I was in secondary school. Girls are only allowed to use black, dark brown or dark blue rubber bands to tie our hair. Wtf?? I always wondered, what does using a green or pink rubber band say about us exactly? Lord help us if we were ever allowed creative expression in any way! And the bra color….on point!!! As one of the very few Indians in my school, I was called out for wearing a black bra as we were only allowed white or nude colors. Hello!!! Not every skin color is the same! Teachers should know better than to blindly follow these outdated rules :p

  2. Ssp

    04/06/2015 at 11:55 am

    One of the most ridiculous rules when I was in secondary school…Girls are only allowed to use black, brown or dark blue rubber bands to tie the hair. Not sure if it’s still the case as that was 10+ years ago.

  3. ASayidi Sali Usman

    14/02/2015 at 10:10 am

    no a4 paper allowed
    reason:students make paper airplanes and throw them everywhere
    solution:ouright ban paper

  4. n305er

    27/01/2015 at 3:04 pm

    I want to point out something I observed from my schooling time and now…
    Most of my friends, who had disobeyed most school rules ended up with doctorates, working overseas, writing technical patents, and solving world’s problems.
    Some of my friends who are the “good kids” in school ended up doing quite okay in a moderate job or low paying but safe job.
    Also, some of those “good kids” ended up doing quite well.

    But ALL of the “good kids” have near to NO AMBITION.

    Some of those bad kids ended up getting pregnant and kicked out of school, and some ended up just becoming a low paying wage worker because they couldn’t get a good knowledge based job.

    If you still don’t see where I’m going with this, here’s a summary.
    People learn from mistakes. That makes experience. And knowledge can always be learnt but experience not.
    As long as they don’t cross the line, they should be fine. But if a person never makes mistakes before, then sorry to say, that person has never experience LIFE.

    • Tong Chih Sheng

      04/06/2015 at 12:45 pm

      I concur with your observation…

  5. Fns

    26/01/2015 at 9:34 pm

    My old school. If u wanna tie your hair must be only ponytails no fancy stuff and you must must must wear a black ribbon and atleast 2 black clips on the sides if not denda 20sen for the ribbon and another i forgot how much for the clips. Then u have earring cannot be fancy ones only gold or silver plain earrings. The watches must not be fancy only those silver watches mcm boys one eww. Everyday got assembly to check all this haha

    • New Jo-Lyn

      27/01/2015 at 11:04 am

      Oh yeah, my school had the ribbon denda too. We had to pay RM1 per ribbon if we forgot to bring ours for the day. 🙁

  6. Serena

    26/01/2015 at 7:19 pm

    It’s not technically a rule but I remembered that the whole spot-checking thing done in my school was pretty ridiculous and to some extent, humiliating. We were not allowed to bring phones to school but some did anyway (rebel or not). During spot-checks, they would feel up the girls’ chest to check if they hid any phone in their bra. Literally, they would slid one hand in the cleavage to check. I remembered being really horrified by the whole process. To make things worse, the guys were lined up just in front of us, like audience to one very humiliating show. Of course all the person who conducted the checks were girls but I can’t help but feel molested all the same.

    • New Jo-Lyn

      27/01/2015 at 11:06 am

      OMG 🙁

      They complain if guy-girl proximity too close but when they’re doing all this feeling up they don’t herd the boys off somewhere else first?! Logic?

  7. [email protected]

    26/01/2015 at 3:49 pm

    I am 52 year old with 2 adult children (31 son & 27 daughter).
    My experience when I was in form 1 , my English teacher hate to see me sitting with another girl my kind (indian). She used to call us “why those two blackish sitting together” , and she will pinch us……….so pain.Nutshell * she hate my face but however I always score the best in her subject just to be kind to me but NEVER happen . I will feel so sad but unable to tell anyone bcus I came from a family whereby respect teachers. Those kind of teachers effect our life at that age. ie our self respect. BUT I promise myself I always make sure my children or their children will never go thru what I have gone thru my schooling experience. My children are now professional & successful and they have great memories of their schooling days.
    I am writing this because i am sure there is so many people like me who have gone thru same experience like me.
    Remember :”Treat others the same way how you want others to treat us”.
    Hindu say: Matha , Pitha, Guru & Theivam.
    Means: Mother , Father , Guru(teacher) & God.
    Which means : We have to worship and respect these four.

    • hudzir

      26/01/2015 at 7:09 pm

      Madam, i’m sorry to interrupt, after you get a good score, did you thanks to them? Did you realise why many teacher separate his student that we like to sit with? Even me they ask me to sit at the back? Or stand outside, or pinch our hand, or etc but in the end, that is good to me even my Spm 3.

    • n305er

      27/01/2015 at 2:51 pm

      I’m sorry to say but science has proven that forced method of education is more destructive than beneficial.
      It’s is when creativity is supposed to be shaped and nurtured at this stage that has been forced to stop and focus on “results” instead.

      Let me ask you, can you absolutely prove that a straight A student is a better person than that of a student who just border-line passed?

      A good educator’s job is to shape and improve the student’s capability. But unfortunately, because of the “system” teachers are encouraged to get their students with good grades only. Thus the separation, the punishment, and humiliation.

      Don’t forget, many of those students didn’t even get A’s after all those action, but things like becoming introvert, anti-social and social anxiety comes from. In some more serious cases, like those suicide cases which happened lately in colleges.

      I am lucky that I’m one of those “rebels” who don’t care what the teachers think. I learnt the hard way after graduating school and started working, that life is so much more than our exam results.

      I now have good grades in my Diploma and Degree by basis of actual understanding instead of memorization and “hafal” method. I actually aspire to improve human living conditions and do my best to improve my family’s lives.

      All that thanks to me nearly failing my SPM.
      If I had actually been a teacher’s pet then, I would probably be satisfied now, probably married with kids and tidak apa to a lot of things because teachers said so not to be busy body.

      if you don’t believe me, I’d encourage you to listen to some of the speeches by Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson and even to people probably more familiar to Malaysians like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and Wozniak.

      Try to figure out what’s in common in them and what we lack from them in our education system.

      Also, there’s a new article in Cilisos about Jho Low. Also try to figure out why he went on his own way and not become the average everybody else.

  8. noname

    26/01/2015 at 3:45 pm

    SMK Seri Gombak – girls wajib wearing tudung. Feels like school in Kelantan.

  9. hudzir

    26/01/2015 at 2:24 pm

    School are place to teach student to be a better person, not just in academic but also morale. In school, what parents want is to look his childrens be a good for a better future, school is not place for a lover, fashionist or kaplabatu student, don’t get angry when teachers sebat or rotan or cubit or alot of homework, that is all for our own good, if you do want teachers say you will survive where ever you are going in your your life, if you don’t listen, you will nowhere to go, if you be a good student even your academic are bad, i say that is better than you be a smart student but with a bad attitude. Please understand our country need a student with a good attitude with a good academic. Not just academic semata-mata.

    • Whatever

      26/01/2015 at 6:48 pm

      Bro, I agree with what you said. But there is one thing that you barely see, the whole picture. Apparently, you don’t know schools rules will make the students feeling unsatisfied. Yes, the students will follow those school rules, but deep inside their heart, they are trying to resist. A bad and wild idea will certainly come into their mind, “I will retrieve my freedom after graduated from secondary schools, I will do what I want, no one will stop me. Mankind in this world is evil, you may not see it because they hide them well and even in yourself too. School rules are mend for keeping a good discipline in the school, the ultimate goal is to protect the image of the school, but not educating them to become a better person, locking up the evil beast inside them. In addition, some school rules are absurd. i suggest you to do some research on schools from overseas.

    • YOU

      26/01/2015 at 8:58 pm

      You may have the right intentions, but you are very distant from how it really is in schools. No one here talks about when teachers disciplines students for bad grades or homework. In most cases, rational people would agree with that directive. What this article is highlighting is the absurdity some schools have done in order to preserve their self-justified “moral code”.

      Specific colored undergarments? Maximum length fringes? Mandated vernacular? Segregation by gender?
      Tell me. Where in the normal working world have you seen similar rules being enforced en mass (outside the military for obvious reasons)?

      The problem with these schools is that they institute what is basically draconian discipline because they fear such trivial “cases of immorality” would not only damage the schools reputation but also promote negative student behavior, the latter of which is highly relative.

      Students are meant to have faults and make mistakes. That is precisely when it is imperative for them to do so because learning from these mistakes makes them all the better for it at an early age. This includes young boy-girl relationships. Do you honestly believe that these rules are effective whatsoever in whatever ill-planned notion it was conceived for? These students will do whatever they want regardless of whether the school institutes these rules or not. If they fall, it isnt the schools job to ensure that that doesnt happen, but rather provide an avenue for them to succeed in life again.

      One last thing. If you believe that nationally instituted morality is correct, you have been brainwashed. I am of course talking about moral classes. These classes do not instill morality but rather make them memorize words without meaning. Ask any student if that class has somehow benefited from that class and you’ll see that it doesnt work. It tries to shill stock-bought concepts and expects students to just accept them without question. Education isnt suppose to be like that especially on the concept of morality.

      Philosophy classes on the other hand does not hand students a 52 step list to memorize and expect them to adhere blindly. This subject teaches them the origins of moral concepts and expects them to build their own real sense of morality from the core. These students think, reason, and subsequently believe. A much better alternative that our current incompetent alternative.

  10. Ong_Wei_Wen

    26/01/2015 at 1:38 pm

    Just to point out, the picture of the ‘guitarist’ is actually a ‘bassist’


    • New Jo-Lyn

      27/01/2015 at 11:09 am

      Ala, ok lor you say like that win lor. Hahaha! Thanks for pointing that out 😀

  11. Hassan

    26/01/2015 at 1:35 pm

    I remember a couple of the ‘funny-when-you-think-about-it’ rules my school had during my time. One, students can only go for toilet breaks during recess. Quickly abolished when students kept soiling themselves. Two, the doors of the boys toilets cannot be closed. EVER. Ultimately the doors were ripped out by the school so the boys pretty much resembled some kind of public bathhouse kind of thing. Haha good times. Good times.

    • New Jo-Lyn

      27/01/2015 at 11:03 am

      Haha! Thanks for sharing Hassan! 😀

  12. Jim

    26/01/2015 at 12:48 pm

    In my school (its an all boys full hostel school), jeans is ban from the school compound even if we just kept it..I always try to find the logic behind this. Until I read it from somewhere. Its a norm for guys to worn them at least for about a month (sometime more) without washing it largely because we believe too much washing will bring harm to the fabric (or maybe just we are just lazy).. so, being a hostel they are trying to prevent skin diseases from spreading due to this practice. I guest its easier to ban jeans altogether rather than to force guys to wash their jeans..

  13. Luke

    26/01/2015 at 10:47 am

    My school had a law when the recess time ended the first bell rang… everyone have to stop doing and freeze! i mean literally not moving like a statue. Some of the ‘pengawas’ will keep watching to enforced it. After the second bell rang about 20sec later we all have to move slowly and calmly back to our class.

    • Serena

      26/01/2015 at 7:25 pm

      I’m pretty sure whoever who made the rule did it for the LOL. Must have been quite the interesting sight each day!

  14. Suzy

    26/01/2015 at 10:07 am

    I remembered during my time this new rule was created where nobody is allowed to spend more than 10 minutes in the toilet except for sick/pain reasons. It is all because the headmaster was so pissed when she knew girls take so long in the toilet just because they spent long time in front of the mirror powdering up or whatever. The headmaster also resulted in putting mirrors at every corridors at the school to prevent this to happen. Oh btw I was from a school in Selayang Baru.

    • New Jo-Lyn

      26/01/2015 at 10:48 am

      LOL! But then students will spend a long time in front of the mirror along the corridors instead of the toilets? Doesn’t really solve the problem?

  15. Caitlyn

    25/01/2015 at 9:18 pm

    School rules. Yes some can be rather ridiculous (depending on whose perspective). The uniform is there for a very valid reason. It ensures that no one child is segregated by his or her peers due to their economic background. Whether you come from a rich family or a poor one everyone wears the uniform thus there will be less problems like being in clicks. A child goes to school with tons of things to face. One less problem to deal with like being segregated due to what you wear or if you have nice clothes to wear is a blessing. Of course most people wouldn’t think about this or it may not have crossed their minds but the uniform isn’t meant to make life miserable. It is meant to reduce cases of bullying due to economic reasons. It is meant to ensure that everyone is at the same level thus will be treated fairly.

    As for the nails, I for one thought that it was ridiculous but I realised that the rule exists to ensure that when there are fights in school, less harm is done with short nails.

    Hair? No school allows skin-heads coz there is a movement out there where skin-heads are associated with Nazis. Again the rule is meant to ensure that things are neutral. Long hair? Falling onto face? All is fine outside of school. Wonder why hair must be cut? So that a student’s face can be seen. So that the teachers know it’s the correct child in school and not some other posing as him or her with face all covered by hair. The same rule applies for people with those face scarves.

    So…a lot of rules are there for one thing only – safety of the child when at school.

    Of course from the perspective of a student it’s different. Almost all students will only think that everyone out there is out to get them especially their teachers.

    There are silly rules but if we sit back and think about it, they probably started to ensure students are safe. After all, at the end of the day if anything were to happen, the teachers will be put to blame as always.

    • New Jo-Lyn

      26/01/2015 at 10:46 am

      Hi Caitlyn! Thanks for your perspective. Ya true that, rules are there for a reason and they’re good. It’s just that some of them really make us laugh and when we reminisce about our old school days it really amuses everyone, I guess. I still like to laugh about the old days with schoolmates. 😀

  16. Jason

    25/01/2015 at 5:04 pm

    This is what happens when you have these bullshit godless countries. Find Jesus and your teachers will respect you more. Also, girls on their period are unclean and should NOT be at school around boys.

  17. kayjenno

    25/01/2015 at 2:43 pm

    I never quite understood why my new guru besar in primary school made us throw away all our mechanical pencils and use 2B wooden pencils instead 😐

    • New Jo-Lyn

      26/01/2015 at 10:39 am

      Maybe in her/his old school, students used to stab each other with mechanical pencils? In my old school it was almost banned because they said they didn’t want us to ‘go around stabbing each other’ with mech pencils… like we couldn’t have done that with wooden pencils? >.>

      Or maybe your guru besar just wants to get you guys used to pencils allowed for the UPSR, PMR, SPM exams? I think there was a rule right? Only wooden pencils allowed into the exam hall? If I remember correctly la.

  18. anakemas

    25/01/2015 at 12:12 am

    In our all-boys school, we were not allowed to keep small mirrors, including the one usually found on the back of pencil sharpeners because boys would allegedly place the mirrors on the floor to get a glimpse of what the female teachers were wearing underneath their skirts.


    • New Jo-Lyn

      26/01/2015 at 10:36 am

      OMG! Hahahaha! What a rule!
      Did you guys really do that though?! D:

  19. cbjkelvin

    24/01/2015 at 1:36 pm

    That remind me, one of my school rule.
    Back then our canteen had only one door, I think is like 10 minute before break time over, the pegawas would lock and guard the door, so nobody could leave. Don’t know why.

    • New Jo-Lyn

      26/01/2015 at 10:33 am

      To catch all of you guys who couldn’t finish your meal 10 minutes BEFORE the bell rings……. tsk tsk.

  20. Yat

    24/01/2015 at 12:44 pm

    One of the more ridiculous ones is never step out of classrooms even during class intervals….but the black bra one totally cracked me up ROFL!!
    Was a prefect in primary school and til now i don’t know why i wrote down those names…demerit my tootttttt

    • New Jo-Lyn

      26/01/2015 at 10:32 am

      Haha! Thanks Yat. Glad you liked the entries. Ya, demerit our toots!

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