Is the STPM exam papers leakage another BMF scandal where a ‘heinous crime’ has no criminals?

By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, June 22, 1984:

Is the STPM exam papers leakage another BMF scandal where a ‘heinous crime’ has no criminals?

While welcoming the Ministry of Education and the Malaysian Examinations Council for making public the inquiry report into the 1983 STPM examinations papers leakage, the findings must have left the majority of Malaysian unsatisfied and unhappy.

Although the MEC inquiry committee pinpointed the cause of the eight leaked STPM papers to the ribbon catridges of the two electric typewriters used to type the examination questions, this is merely a hypothesis, for the MEC inquiry committee has not been able to prove that this hypothesis, as compared to other nine possibilities of leakage, was in fact the cause, as no one had been pinpointed who could own up and confirm the MEC’s findings.

This is another great mystery. If, as the MEC has found, the penetration of the MEC’s security system and the dissemination of the leaked exam papers and model answers had been extensive as to reach over 6,000 candidates, clearly the large numbers of people involved in masterminding, disseminating, distributing and selling the leaked papers would make it easy for the MEC or the Police to trace the persons responsible for this crime.

But from all reports and indications, it would appear that the police is at a complete loss in the investigations. MEC Chairman Professor Ungku Aziz said that the report had been handed over to the police whose job it would be to identify the culprits.

It would appear that the MEC was content to work out a hypothethical possibility of the leakage, leaving it to the Police to find the culprits. I would say that finding the culprits would be as much the MEC’s responsibility as the Police’s.

The Malysian public are very disturbed that the STPM exam paper leakage scandal would end up as another Bumiputra Malaysia Finance loans scandal, being a ‘heinous crime’ without criminals.

The MEC’s inquiry report has raised several questions which the it public interest calls for prompt clarification:

There were 24 ribbon catridges used for the 78 STPM papers in 1983, but only 12 were found in the store. This means that there was potential for half the 78 STPM papers, or 39 of them, to be leaked, and not just eight. It would go against the grain of the culprits to be so self-denying as not to leak the rest. This throws doubt on the ‘stolen ribbon catridge’ theory for the STPM leakage, and points at least to the possibility of a diversity of sources of leakage.

A nagging question for both MEC and Police is why a leakage which involved over 6,000 people could not provide sufficient leads for the authorities to trade the persons involved, if not the mastermind.

In explaining how the MEC came to know of the leak, the report said that on Nov. 14, the Terengganu assistant director of examinations and assessment telephoned the MEC that there had been a leak in the examination papers. Yet the press on Nov. 20, 1983 reported a Ministry of Education source as stating that there had been no such reports. Why was the MEC trying to deliberately mislead the public, the candidates in particular, about the leak.

The inquiry report was also most unsatisfactory with regard to the links if any of the various seminars and special briefings conducted by various organization on the STPM examination papers, where university lecturers who are were said to be involved in setting or preparing the STPM questions, took part.

Professor Ungku Aziz said it was possible that there were some lecturers who had something to do with setting examination questions, had been invited to the seminars to discuss questions; but there was no proof that the lecturers at these seminars were indeed involved in setting the questions.

This is a most unsatisfactory statement, for the whole purpose of the MEC inquiry committee is to get to the bottom of the entire scandal, and it should be able to report as to whether the lecturers were in the clear or not; and not resort to ‘may bes’.

The MEC committee said the questions to the eight leaked STPM papers were know at least three months before the examination in November, as the cartridges could have been stolen some time between April and August 1983, and as the seminars where some of the leaked questions were alleged to have been distributed were held in July and August, the MEC’s report on the role of the organizers of these seminars in the STPM exam paper leakage is so sketchy as to amount to a deliberate avoidance to delve into them fully and thoroughly.

I do not think that the MEC has succeeded in fully restoring public confidence and credibility from its inquiry report. It is now left to the Police to redeem the MEC’s tattered image and credibility with concreate action to bring the culprits to book, and to give a full report on the role of the seminars’ organisers in the SPTM exam question paper leakage.