The Education Ministry is currently discussing the need to introduce swimming lessons in schools, says its minister Maszlee Malik.
He said the proposal was mooted by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad following the increase in drowning incidents involving school students lately.
The discussions also took into account the shortage of swimming pool facilities, especially for schools in rural areas, he said.
“Swimming skills are very important among children. In Finland and Australia and a few other countries, swimming skills are taught in schools.
“In private schools, there are many that have already implemented compulsory swimming classes for their students and for the government schools, we will try to do it in stages,” he said after visiting the family of drowned student Muhammad Ilham Fahmy Mohammad Azzam in Puchong today.
Maszlee spent half an hour with the victim’s family and conveyed his condolences.
He also called on the public, particularly school students, not to play or bathe in areas such as lakes and disused mining ponds.
Muhammad Ilham Fahmy, 17, drowned while fishing at the disused mining pond at Taman Putra Perdana in Puchong on Wednesday.
His body was found at 5.45pm yesterday by the rescue team about 800 metres from where he was last seen and he was buried in the evening.
Six members of the Fire and Rescue Department’s Water Rescue Unit died while searching for Muhammad Ilham Fahmy.
Four of them were members of the Port Klang Fire and Rescue station: Mohd Fatah Hashim, 34, Izatul Akma Wan Ibrahim, 32, Mazlan Omarbaki, 25, and Yahya Ali, 24. The rest were from the Shah Alam Fire and Rescue station: Adnan Othman, 33, and Muhammad Hifdzul Malik Shaari, 25.