MOE proposes schools not be used during polls

JOHOR BARU: The Education Ministry will propose to the Election Commission (EC) not to use schools in Johor as polling centres for the state election as it is being held during the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination.

Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin said the EC has yet to make any official request to his ministry about using schools as voting centres for the Johor election.

“We will write an official letter to the EC soon asking it to exempt secondary schools in Johor from being used as voting centres next month due to the SPM examination.

“The written SPM examination will be from March 3 until March 29 and the ministry has already made the necessary preparation for the exams,” he said after attending an engagement with teachers and parent-teachers associations here yesterday.

He said the ministry was aware of grumblings from teachers during a meeting on Friday that their schools would be used as voting centres although SPM is ongoing.

“Secondary schools in Johor have already made the necessary preparation for the students to sit for their SPM examination.

“We have no problems if the EC uses primary schools instead of secondary schools for polling day in the Johor state election,” he added.

“We don’t want schools to be used for other purposes during a major examination,” Radzi said.

The EC has set nomination day for the Johor state election on Feb 26 while early voting and polling day are on March 8 and March 12, respectively.

Meanwhile, Radzi said, the ministry will ensure that the school term and SPM will continue to proceed as scheduled despite an increase in Covid-19 cases nationwide.

This is because the percentage of new Covid-19 patients under Category Four and Five is small, he added.

“The ministry will ensure that the operation of schools will run smoothly and safely with strict compliance with the standard operating procedure,” he said.

“We already have the experience managing SPM 2020 in February last year, where it went smoothly with strict SOP in place.

“Besides that, more than 90% of the Form Five students this year have already been vaccinated, which was different than those taking the SPM last year,” he added.

Radzi also said that Covid-19 cases involving teachers and students were still low.

“The school cluster involved only 0.5% of the total number of non-boarding schools, which are more than 10,000 schools nationwide.

“The ministry will continue to work with the Health Ministry to ensure that school operations are carried out under the SOP set,” he said.

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