KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 – The nine-member panel set up to review the management of public examinations held its inaugural meeting on Wednesday, and decided on first tracing the route of the test papers up to the examination hall. Panel chairman Tun Zaki Tun Azmi said the members proposed to visit schools and the printer of the examination papers as well as talk to teachers. “For now, the panel wants to learn the route of the test papers. There is much more to find out.
We have to study the weaknesses and then only can we make the recommendations,” he told reporters after the meeting of close to three hours at the Examinations Syndicate here. The panel was set up following a leak in the Science and English examination papers of this year’s Primary School Achievement Test (UPSR) on Sept 10. Subsequently, on Sept 22, it was announced that there was a leak in the Tamil and Mathematics papers. Sept 30 has been set as the new date for the Science and English examinationsand Oct 9, for the Tamil and Mathematics tests. Zaki also said that the panel was briefed by representatives of the Education Ministry on how the examination papers were set and distributed to the schools and examination centres.
“It is interesting to know how the question papers are prepared and transported. We have sat for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination but do not know the path the question papers take to reach us,” he said. Asked if the panel members would visit the printers in the country or abroad, he replied that they would visit the printers in the country. “We have to consider about going overseas because that involves spending a lot of public funds. Is it worth spending or not? I am very cautious,” he said, adding that some of the question papers were printed overseas.
Zaki reminded those responsible for having distributed the UPSR question papers over the social media that it was an offence to have done so. “It is not funny to take pictures. Each person is liable to be charged. Don’t think it is funny. This is a serious offence. This is a warning to the people who reproduced (the exam papers). It is not funny,” he said. He said anyone reproducing the examination papers and answer scripts was liable to be charged under the Official Secrets Act but this was up to the Attorney-General’s discretion.
Zaki said the panel had set up a website – http:// www.moe.gov.my//lp – to invite views and comments from all quarters, particularly parents and teachers. He also said that he was optimistic that the panel would be able to complete its report in three months. “I am confident we will be able to achieve the objective. I am very happy to also say that the (panel) members participated actively in giving their views and putting forth questions,” he said. He said one of the members, Tan Sri Prof Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin, was unable to attend today’s meeting as she was overseas. Zaki said the panel decided that it would meet twice a week. Following the leak in the UPSR examination papers, the police had arrested 14 individuals, all of whom have been released on police bail.