According to the JPA 1/2016 circular, individuals applying for civil service posts must have at least a pass in SPM Bahasa Malaysia beginning this year. As a consequence, some 300 medical graduates with “O” level BM will have to sit for the SPM paper in order to remain in the public service sector.

Although there are certain service categories that do not require SPM qualifications such as drivers, security personnel and operators, generally speaking SPM BM is still one of the prerequisites for the application of civil service positions.

JPA has been relaxing the SPM BM requirement for civil service positions by accepting “O” level BM as an alternative since 2003. However, beginning this year, applicants can no longer apply with their “O” level results.

Strictly speaking, this is not a new measure but the reversal to a previous requirement.

Unfortunately due to some misunderstanding arising from poor communication, the issue has since triggered unnecessary controversies. For example, when some medical graduates applied to sit for the SPM paper, they were told they had to sit for at least six papers including passes in BM and history before they could get the SPM cert.

This has aroused a lot of concern and frustration as a result of miscommunication. It is therefore imperative that the authorities clarify this matter so as to appease the negative sentiment..

As a matter of fact, according to the ministry of education examination syndicate chief Dr Aliah Ahmad Shah, sitting for at least six SPM papers for the first time is only a requirement for current students. University graduates and working adults will only need to prove to the examination syndicate their university or vocational qualifications in order to apply to sit for only one subject.



Additionally, we must understand that this requirement is not targeting any specific race. All applicants — including Malays, Chinese and Indians — are subjected to the same non-discriminatory requirement.

If a medical graduate decides to serve in the public sector, he must realize that he will put himself in a predominantly Malay-speaking work environment and will have to serve a large percentage of Malay patients. Under such circumstances, he must be equipped with a certain level of BM proficiency in order to communicate with people and effectively serve the public.

– Mysinchew