Slip-up led to confusion in sex survey of students

PETALING JAYA, Feb 11 — The recent outrage over an alleged sex survey among pupils of a primary school in Nilai was caused by a slip-up by a medical officer who was supposed to supervise a health screening for adolescents.

A source from the school said the health screening, which was part of a survey conducted by the Health Ministry, was handed out to 181 pupils aged 12 in the school who were told to take the survey form home and return it to the medical officer after the Chinese New Year school break.

“I was told the medical officer wanted to rush for the holidays, so instead of following the proper procedure, he asked the students to take the questions home,” said the source.

According to the standard operating procedure (SOP), the pupils are supposed to answer the questions in the presence of medical officers and nurses.

“They were supposed to be guided from beginning to the end and were supposed to return the survey forms immediately,” the source said.

However, the SOP was not adhered to and this created a misunderstanding on the survey’s actual purpose.

The source said the questionnaire was part of a screening process for adolescent health coordinated by the Family Health Development Division under the Health Ministry for the past three years.

Part of an early intervention programme, the survey also asked the pupils their medical history, allergies, mental health, dietary habits and behaviour.

“The feedback obtained from the survey are then used by the ministry to intervene in any health-related issues, including obtaining data on teen pregnancies,” he said.

National parent-teacher association collaborative council associate president Prof Datuk Mohamad Ali Hassan said the results obtained by the survey were questionable as the SOP was not adhered to.

“If there were failures in the method of sampling, the result of the survey should not be interpreted or used,” he said.

Mohamad Ali said the blunder was a mockery to the exercise that had been conducted as the defected results were a waste of time and energy.

He questioned the necessity behind distributing the survey to those aged between 10 and 14.

“This is a screening for adolescents. Adolescents should not be children under the age of 15 years,” he said.

The survey was revealed by two Negri Sembilan assemblymen last Wednesday.

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