Saturday, November 27, 2010


Malaysia seems to have a bit of a preoccupation with leaks. From a certain MP commenting about a fellow MP's monthly "leaks", to the leaks that plague our ahem, integrity-driven ( but most definitely not of the structural type) Malaysian institutions, there seems to be no end of holes ( both the physical and people type of holes), in our country. The latest one comes in the form of a leak, of the SPM BM Kertas 2 paper, just hours before the actual exam.

Apparently, our compatriots in the North ( think Rice Bowl), mistakenly gave students Bm Kertas 2 in the morning of 23rd November 2010, when they were supposed to have given out Kertas 1 instead. A truly careless, callous, and thoughtless blunder of the highest order. And the best part is, they purportedly did not even realise it and let the students finish the entire paper! Following the completion of the paper, the gleeful students proceeded to spread the joy, raining down a flurry of SMSes to their pals. What happened next, is pretty obvious. Students who received the messages proceeded to open their books and read up on whatever had been revealed.

Well, I cannot prove or testify to the truth of the story, as I myself find it hard to believe such a blunder can be made. After all, examiners first read out the name and code of the paper, and follow that up with a " Ada apa-apa masalah tak? Sila pastikan anda menerima Kertas yang betul." I also find it rather implausible that of all the perhaps 20 invigilators present, among which there probably would have been Bm teachers, not even ONE saw sense and stopped the whole disaster ( or blessing to those students) from occurring. The whole arrangement also defies logic, after all, does not 1 come BEFORE 2? Or has the world truly turned upside down?

However, I myself saw the message, and its contents indeed concurred with what the paper included. So it's a rather moot point discussing whether or not the question leaked when the evidence is right in front of us.

What is not a moot point, however, is the weaknesses and problems this incident has revealed in our examination system. Firstly, if the incident truly happened as the tale above, then it has shown us either one of three things: One, that it was done on purpose, OR, that our invigilators are in fact, not vigilant at all, OR that our invigilators are visually impaired. As I have serious doubts that the latter is true, as invigilators are respected teachers who are perfectly physically capable, I will only discuss the implications the first two bring to light.

If indeed it was done on purpose, then it would truly be a rather unintelligent way to leak a question. Not only would it be too easily detected, there would be not much to gain from it, as the information would turn into a public product, easily transferred at minimal cost and profit to the leaker. It would be far more profitable to sell the paper under table ( not that I'm saying they do), and far more discreet. Unless of course, whoever did so is ... not very bright.

Conversely, if it was a mistake by the un-vigilators, then it has dreadful implications. It would show us a complete lack of vigilance, care and commitment on the part of the invigilators. The very same people, who educate and are our future leader's "second parents". Now, I'm not saying that all educators are lacking in commitment. In fact, I have the utmost respect for those teachers who have brought me up. However, we cannot simply brush off the implications this incident has. These educators, will bring up your child? They are supposed to teach them to be responsible, hardworking, dedicated individuals. And it truly pains me to even consider that this story might be true, that our teachers made this grave mistake, that will cost the nation a huge amount of shame and embarrassment.

The Ministry should own up and explain exactly how the incident happened lest the public goes about rumour mongering and cooking up wild speculations. Those involved should be punished, and a re-sit should be staged to salvage what semblance of integrity they still have. (though I highly doubt this will happen.)

Understandably, some parents will grumble that it is not their child's fault, but think about it. Is it fair for the rest? If your child profited from the leak, is there any value in that A? Would you be proud of your child? Would your child be able to look back, and say he truly earned that A? Would you want a 'leak' of his own sense of right and wrong? Life will throw further trials and tribulations at them. They will have to face them nonetheless. No more leaks this time. Only hard work, determination and a sense of integrity will help them, and certainly teaching them to keep quiet, and profit at the expense of their own conscience, is not the way to cultivate those values.