Friday 27 May 2011

PM insists never vowed blanket overseas scholarships

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak maintained today that the government never promised overseas scholarships for all top SPM students.

He said what his administration had guaranteed was Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships to both local and overseas universities for students with SPM results of 8A+ and better.

“Our promise is that all 8A+ students will get government scholarships for local and overseas. We didn’t promise that everyone will get overseas scholarships.

“This is what the public sometimes do not understand,” he told reporters during a press conference here.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, who is in charge of the PSD scholarships, has said that the government had allocated 1,500 overseas scholarships to top students, but only 300 of the total were given based entirely on merit to students scoring straight 9A+.

The remaining 1,200 overseas grants, he said, were distributed according to those qualified within four categories — Sabah Bumiputeras (five per cent), Sarawak Bumiputeras (five per cent), social composition or the population’s racial composition (60 per cent) and socially handicapped (10 per cent).

MCA was the first to raise grievances about PSD’s distribution of scholarships this year, with its Youth chief Datuk Wee Ka Siong claiming that 363 straight A+ students had failed to get the scholarships despite Najib’s promise last year that all students scoring 8A+ and above would secure placements.

In the escalating dispute over PSD scholarships, the Barisan Nasional (BN) component party handed a report to Najib earlier today outlining 364 cases that must be reviewed and told the prime minister that top SPM students should be given scholarships to study abroad.

“MCA is of the view that 59 appeals with straight A+ in the Sijil Pendidikan Malaysia (SPM) should be offered scholarships for degree courses overseas,” MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said after meeting the PM.
Dr Chua added that 82 students with 9A+ in core subjects, who were originally offered only scholarships for diploma courses, should also be offered overseas scholarships or at least a local degree scholarship.
Today, Najib also explained that students offered scholarships for diploma courses were still eligible for degree scholarships.

He also added the diploma courses were offered because they were what the universities themselves have put up.

“But the government will guarantee to sponsor students that want to pursue their study with a degree scholarship,” he said.

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