Monday 6 June 2011

60-40 race ratio for 1MDB scholarships

KUALA LUMPUR: The distribution of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) study grants will comply with the 60-40 ratio to reflect the country’s racial composition, with extra leeway given to Sabah and Sarawak Bumiputeras.

Minister in the Prime Minister Department Nazri Aziz said 500 study grants have been allocated with priority given to top students on the Public Service Department’s list.

The government will also look into other aspects like the socio-economic background in awarding the 1MDB scholarships, including loosening the academic requirements for Sabahan and Sarawakian Bumiputra students from the rural areas.

“We will loosen the requirements for Bumiputera students from Sabah and Sarawak, but not for those in the peninsula.

“They (Malays) have to comply with strict conditions like (meeting requirements of ) academic qualifications and parents’ income,” Nazri said, adding that the number of slots for Sabah and Sarawak students for the 300 Bumiputera quota would be decided tomorrow.

The application is also only valid for those with parents earning RM5,000 and below. Students already sponsored by other agencies will not be eligible for the grants.

Nazri said the applicants would not have to go for an interview, adding that the scholarships would vary from courses to courses.

Students applying for critical and non-critical subjects in local public universities will receive about RM7,500 while those applying for local private institutions will receive RM15,000 for critical course and RM10,000 for non-critical ones.

Nazri said the grants were on a yearly basis and only available for local programmes.

“We want to put the money in the country,” Nazri said, referring to the absence of scholarships for overseas programmes.

The government took a heavy beating recently over its scholarship distribution policy. Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong claimed the award system is unfair and controlled by “little Napoleans” in the PSD.

Nazri, in charge of PSD, denied the allegation. The open spat between the Cabinet members had provided fodder to the opposition which blamed the brain-drain crisis on the Barisan Nasional’s scholarship policy.
Pakatan Rakyat claimed that all top students will be given financial aid should it wrest federal power.

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