KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — The national SPM examinations are still underway but social media platforms are abuzz with bewildered chatter over some of the questions in the Moral paper that some say are politically skewed and loaded.
Shankar Chandrasegaran who sat for the paper two days ago, remembers being taken aback by a question that asked students to explain why it was better for them not to participate in anti-government activities.
The Fifth Former at a school in Selangor described the question as depicting a teenager encountering a promotional poster for an anti-government rally in which participants would receive RM100, and inviting a friend to join in.
“I believe many students will believe that the government is trying to make sure that the young generation don't oppose the government,” Shankar told Malay Mail Online when contacted yesterday.
Another student who asked only to be identified as Anna said she too was shocked when she saw the question, as she felt it was too personal and inappropriate for a national-level examination for school leavers.
“I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion, so by asking these strange questions in the exam, you cannot weigh the situation in the correct perspective because you know what the expected answer is.
“So why bother asking these questions when students would obviously have to provide them with the most ‘morally’ related answers and basically agree with whatever it is?” she posed.
Asked how she answered, Anna said she chose what she thought the examiners would accept as the most “correct” response, even though she believed the answer to be subjective.
The 17-year-old said her mother was unsurprised when she told her about the Moral examination question, adding that she felt a little consoled when she was told “there’s no win-win situation” in that predicament.
Another SPM examinee, Tasha, confirmed the politically-loaded question was included in this year’s Moral paper.
The teen who attends a private secondary school in Subang Jaya said while she may agree students should not participate in political activities, they should similarly not be tested on issues as the answers may not reflect their personal beliefs, which would ironically breach the very moral values they had been taught.
“Not all answers for all the questions are necessarily in line with our beliefs, but we do know what the right answers are,” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
Apart from the controversial anti-government rally issue, Tasha said another mind-boggling question students were asked was what they would do when faced with water rationing in their housing area and had to choose between collecting water from the delivery truck for their mother or attending extra classes in school.
Tasha said she answered that she would first collect water before heading to school for the extra class as to not cause heartache for her mother.
Malay Mail Online was unable to verify the contents of the SPM Moral paper as the examination is “closed”, which means students are not allowed to take home the question sheets.
The SPM Moral questions have a hot topic on Twitter and other social media platforms since the test two days ago and even sparked a hashtag, #spm2015 moral.
Parents education lobby groups have also voiced outrage at the possibility that SPM examinees were forced to answer politically-skewed questions, saying the classroom is not the place for politics.
Malacca Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) chairman Mak Chee Kin said he had not seen the question sheets but stressed that his group will look into the issue that has put their children in an awkward position.
“As a parent I am not happy that my child is required to be put on the spot that way, to state their political stand,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
“Why must they set a question with a political undertone? There are hundreds of other questions that could have taken its place. I’m sure it was vetted, and I think action needs to be taken against the people who set the question.”
Shamsuddin Hamid, coordinator for the Concerned Parents of Selangor (CPS) also raised similar concerns, saying while it was important to educate children on political ideas, thoughts and philosophy, the school was not the platform to spread partisan politics.
“It would be ridiculous and horrible. If at all it was in the questions, parents should raise hell. As for CPS’ stand, partisan politics should not be in the classrooms,” he said when contacted.
Malay Mail Online has also contacted the Education Ministry for comment but has yet to receive a reply.
Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan gave an assurance he would issue a statement after checking on the allegation with ministry officials.AIZYL AZLEE Malay Mail News Nation 19 November 2015