Chong Sing Woh probably swears by the oft-said adage, 'Seek Knowledge from the Cradle to the Grave'.

Otherwise, how else can one explain his dogged determination to sit for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination for the sixth time - after five failed attempts earlier.

Chong is no ordinary student.

The man is a retiree from the private sector and is 60 years of age. He is among 2,667 private candidates sitting for the SPM this year.

He said he was sitting for the six core subjects after five failed attempts earlier.

"I want to prove to people my age that it is not a barrier for an individual to succeed and cross the many hurdles in life," he told reporters after finishing the Bahasa Melayu 1 paper at the Secondary School (SMK) Seri Ampang here, Monday.

According to Chong, the persistence and determination to continue attempting to pass the examination started when his peers often ridiculed his lack of education.

He said he used to revise his lessons for two hours every day and intended to pursue a diploma in sports science.

"If I fail in this attempt, too, I will try again next year...until I pass," said the father of a teenager.

Chong has taken the subjects, Bahasa Melayu, English, Moral Education, Science, Mathematics and History.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Safuan Abd Rahman, 17, from SMK Sultan Tajul Ariffin Manong said despite receiving treatment for his kidney ailment at the KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital, he was eager to sit for his SPM examination today.

"I had to commute from Kuala Kangsar to the hospital for the past five years, and every week I need to undergo dialysis thrice.

"While I have been retained in the ward today to undergo further treatment, I'm sure I can answer the Bahasa Melayu paper well," he said when met at the hospital on Monday.

The fourth of five siblings who lives with his rubber tapper mother and security guard stepfather said he would never give up and hoped to realise his ambition to work in the Tenaga Nasional Berhad like his late father.

In Perak, 39,102 SPM candidates are sitting for the examination, with 2,649 officials ensuring the examination runs smoothly from Nov 2 until Dec 8.

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