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Radzi takes PM to task over claim that 30,000 sat out SPM exam

The former education minister says there were only 14,858 absentees and not 30,000 as claimed by Anwar Ibrahim.

Azzman Abdul Jamal
2 minute read
SPM candidates sit for their first paper at SMK Sentul Utama in Kuala Lumpur in this file picture.
SPM candidates sit for their first paper at SMK Sentul Utama in Kuala Lumpur in this file picture.

Former education minister Mohd Radzi Jidin today hit out at Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim over his claim that 30,000 students did not sit for the 2022 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination.

Speaking at a press conference in Parliament, Radzi pointed out that according to Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek, only 14,858 students did not sit for the final school leaving examination.

He questioned where Anwar obtained that figure, adding that the latter was politicising education and tarnishing the previous administration's image.

"If we look at Fadhlina's statement, the number of students absent from the SPM examination was listed as 14,858," he said, citing several media reports.

"When the prime minister said 30,000 absentees, where did the data come from? Who is being dishonest here?

"Either the education minister is providing false information to him, or the prime minister is making statements without verifying the facts."

Radzi was referring to Anwar's remarks during a dialogue session with undergraduates at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia yesterday.

He also slammed Anwar for implying that he had failed to monitor the situation.

The Putrajaya MP said the SPM examination took place from Feb 20 to March 15 this year, months after the coalition government took over the administration.

"Even if he wants to blame me, he needs to get his facts straight. The examination took place after my tenure.

"So how could I be held responsible? He should ask the minister in charge at that time, who is Fadhlina," Radzi added.

Radzi also said that Anwar should refer to a statement from the Malaysian Examinations Council published on June 16, 2022, that 10,861 SPM candidates did not attend the examination in 2021.

"We should never politicise education.

"That's why this matter did not become part of the campaign. But while we're in the ministry, we need to ensure that our children receive the best in schools," Radzi said.

It was previously reported that 14,858 first-time SPM candidates did not sit for the examination. The absentees made up 3.8% of the total 388,832 candidates.

The education ministry said it was looking into appropriate interventions to ensure better student attendance in the coming years.