Malaysia suspended a child team-building programme on Wednesday after a video emerged online of a group of frightened schoolgirls being made to wade through a muddy snake pit.
The programme, held in the western state of Perak, was part of a motivational camp for children aged between 10 and 12 and was conducted by a school and the Malaysian Civil Defence Department.
The three-minute video, which drew outrage on social media, showed the schoolgirls screaming and crying after they were asked to cross a muddy pool which they were told contained two pythons.
As they were crossing the pool, more snakes were thrown in. The students were also sprayed with water and told to “get in and dive” by male instructors, who were not seen on-screen.
Perak civil defence department director Col. Mohd Noor Hassan Ashaari Sulaiman told state news agency Bernama the camp’s coordinators had modelled the exercise on training videos found on Youtube.
The use of snakes was not endorsed by the department and was not part of its self-development module, he said, adding that the snakes used were non-poisonous.
“This incident cannot be taken lightly,” he was quoted as saying. The department had since suspended four coaches and six assistants pending internal investigations.