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PETALING JAYA, Feb 25 — Sitting for your Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations during a pandemic can be challenging.
One SPM candidate, however, had a tougher time than most this week as he had to deal with his father’s death midway through his examinations.
The student, Muhammad Haikal Iskandar Zamry, 18, didn’t even have the time to properly mourn his father as he only got to bid his farewell outside the examination hall at SMK Simpang Beluru in Kuala Kangsar before his test.
Photos and videos of Haikal were shared on social media by his school’s counsellor Badariah Mohd Mohaidin on Facebook yesterday, as she asked social media users to keep him in their prayers.
A visibly distraught Haikal was seen being consoled by school staff in the photos as he held back his tears after seeing his father’s body.
“Please pray that God gives Haikal strength to complete his SPM exams. This child just lost his father today,” she said in the post.
Badariah told Sinar Harian that his father’s body was brought to the school from the Taiping Hospital on the way to the cemetery in Kampung Tahan Muslim Cemetery, Sauk yesterday morning.
She said that the school authorities granted permission to Haikal’s family -- allowing him to bid farewell to his father before his second History paper began -- after they discovered that he wasn’t allowed to see his late father at the hospital the night before.
“His father passed away on Tuesday after being admitted to the hospital for a week due to heart and diabetes complications.
“After hearing about what happened, Haikal went to the hospital to see his father’s body. But when he arrived, he wasn’t allowed to enter,” she said.
Badariah added that Haikal had to sit for papers throughout the day, which is why the school authorities felt that it was only right to allow him to see his father one last time, in case he couldn’t make it for the burial which was scheduled at 11.30am.
“He had papers from morning all the way to the evening. So those 15 minutes before his History paper was the only chance he had to see his father’s body before taking the exam at 10am,” she said.
“During recess, he couldn’t stop crying and didn’t eat or drink anything. We had to prepare a special room for him to be in because he wasn’t emotionally stable.”
His brother, Twitter user @aminrrshid also uploaded a photo onto his page yesterday saying that Haikal did manage to see his father again at the surau after completing his History papers.
My adik currently on his SPM & tadi dia habis je paper sejarah terus datang surau & sempat tengok arwah & solat jenazah . My heart when i saw he hold his tears so bad ya allah he’s strong❤️😔 pic.twitter.com/TOM7ieUDN6— Aminur (@aminrrshid) February 24, 2021
“My brother is currently taking his SPM and the moment he finished his History paper he came to the surau. He was able to see dad and say prayers for him too. My heart broke when I saw him hold his tears. My God, he’s so strong,” said his brother in the post.
The post has since gone viral on social media, garnering over 45,000 likes and 17,000 shares in under a day as many social media users sympathised with Haikal and his family.
“My condolences to you and your family. If I was in Haikal’s position, I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I pray he does well in life,” wrote one user.