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KUALA LUMPUR: Amid a spike in Covid-19 cases nationwide and floods in the east coast states, the 2021 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination began smoothly today in accordance with the strict standard operating procedures at 3,382 examination centres across the country.

However, a total of 708 candidates in seven schools in Pasir Mas, Kelantan, who were affected by floods, will have to sit for the examination at the second session in April.

Also allowed to sit for the examination in April are those who were infected by Covid-19 and currently undergoing quarantine.

Bernama checks at several schools nationwide found that the candidates, all masked up, began flocking their examination centres at 6.30 am to sit for the Bahasa Melayu Paper 1.

In the capital, Kuala Lumpur Education Department deputy director (Educational Planning Sector and District Education Office Management) Mohd Najib Ab Rahman said the implementation of the SPM examination in the new normal this time around was more organised, thanks to the experience from last year.

When met during his visit to Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Sentul Utama here, he said the examination in Kuala Lumpur involved 20,311 candidates and 161 examination centres.

In Putrajaya, there were 1,797 candidates comprising 1,631 school candidates and 166 private candidates sitting for the examination at 11 centres.

Putrajaya Education Department director Farizah Ahmad said of the total, 68 students had been excused and will have to sit for the examination at the second session in April as 46 of them were infected with Covid-19 and 22 others were classified as close contacts and currently under a quarantine order.

In Johor, 50,317 candidates sat for the examination today.

The candidates at SMK Kota Masai 2 also received a surprise wish of good luck from Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Jidin who came to visit.

In Selangor, State Education Department deputy director (Education Sector) Nor Faridah A Bakar said 73,938 candidates, including those with special needs, sat for the examination at 508 centres statewide today, excluding 219 candidates who were tested positive for Covid-19.

In Negeri Sembilan, State Education director Datuk Md Fiah Md Jamin said 543 out of 16,758 candidates in the state could not sit for the examination today as they were infected with Covid-19, while in Malacca, 13,134 candidates sat for the examination.

In Penang, State Education director Abdul Rashid Abdul Samad said 137 out of 20,051 candidates would have to sit for the examination in April due to Covid-19.

In Perak, State Education deputy director Azmi Dahali when met after checking the process at SMK Tasek Damai said two candidates had to sit for the examination at the Taiping Hospital and Teluk Intan Hospital, respectively.

In Pahang, State Education director Mohammad Rosli Abdul Rahman told Bernama that 20,675 candidates sat for the examination at 264 examination centres, while five others, at the hospitals where they were receiving treatments after being involved in road accidents.

In Terengganu, State Syariah Implementation, Education and Higher Education Committee chairman Satiful Bahri Mamat said 319 out of the 18,815 SPM candidates in the state, who were affected by floods, would be placed at the alternative examination centre until the examination is over.

In Kelantan, 27,372 candidates sat at 283 centres statewide, except the 708 candidates in seven schools in flood-hit Pasir Mas, who will have to sit for the examination at the second session in April.

In Perlis, the examination involved 3,598 candidates and 36 examination centres, while in Kedah, there were 29,769 candidates, including 903 who could not sit for the examination today as they were under quarantine for Covid-19.

In Sarawak, 72 out of 36,385 candidates will also have to sit for the examination in April due to Covid-19, while in Sabah, State Education director Datuk Dr Mistirine Radin said 39,250 candidates were sitting for the examination at 315 centres across the state today. — Bernama