KOTA KINABALU - The Education Ministry will set up a special task force to investigate an alleged leak of the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination questions.
Education director-general Tan Sri Abdul Ghafar Mahmud said the ministry was now in contact with the Muslim Consumer Association of Malaysia (PPIM), which had revealed the possibility of leaked exam questions.
He said the ministry was acquiring further information from PPIM, adding that efforts were being made to get to the bottom of the matter.
"This leakage was unlikely to happen as those papers were printed in the United Kingdom and police had escorted them from there to Malaysia.
"There might be a misunderstanding in between, but we will rectify the matter as soon as possible," said Abdul Ghafar after a meeting with the Sabah Education Department sectors heads, districts education officers, School Improvement Specialist Coaches (SISC+) and School Improvement Partner (SIP+) officers.
The PPIM had received reports from three individuals claiming that SPM questions for Mathematics and Additional Mathematics were leaked.
A complainant said he was informed about the matter by students at a school in Wangsa Maju on Nov 18, who claimed that the questions were distributed during an SPM seminar at the Mua'adz Bin Jabal Mosque in Setiawangsa, Kuala Lumpur, on Nov 17.
In Kuala Lumpur, Deputy Education Minister II P. Kalamanathan said the outcome of investigations into the leaked SPM questions was expected to be known next week.
He said the ministry was scrutinising the claims, adding that action would be taken if the allegations were true.
"I believe the investigation is still ongoing and an official announcement will only be made next week," said Kamalanathan at the closing of the Scope International Orang Asli Children Education programme.
Asked whether students might have to re-sit the examination, Kamalanathan said it was best to wait for the official announcement before making any presumptions.
Yesterday, the Malaysian Examination Board confirmed that they had received complaints about the leak in the Mathematics and Additional Mathematics' papers.
The board is currently investigating the validity of the complaints, and would take action when it concluded its investigations.
On a separate matter, Kamalanathan said the abolishment of the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examination was done to ensure that all Malaysian children receive at least 11 years of free education.
"Previously, some students received only 9 years of education as they leave school after failing their PMR. Without it, students have the opportunity to receive free and sustained education without dropping out of school after a short period."
He said the extra two years provided time for students to discover their interests and develop themselves better.
Kamalanthan said Malaysia's literacy level was currently approaching the 95 per cent mark, which was remarkable considering the worldwide level of literacy currently stands at 85 per cent.