Sunday 5 June 2011

DAP: Study aid for all top scorers under Pakatan rule

GEORGE TOWN, June 5 — DAP pledged today that unlike Barisan Nasional (BN), it would ensure that all deserving top students in the country are awarded scholarships if Pakatan Rakyat (PR) wrests control of the federal government.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is also Penang chief minister, said in a statement that the party and its PR partners in the state already granted numerous awards to top students based on their performances.

He lamented, however, that a shortage of funds prevented the Penang government from granting full scholarships to all top scorers.

“Penang does not even have any access, even to USM (Universiti Sains Malaysia), much less any universities as they are controlled by the federal government.

“However, if DAP has the tens of billions of ringgit in funds available in the federal government, then all top students will be awarded scholarships that they deserve,” he promised.

DAP has been attacking BN’s MCA for “failing” to settle the recent row over the distribution of Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships, resulting in 86 top performing students being given placements in local universities instead of abroad. PSD currently offers only 1,500 overseas scholarships and 2,500 local scholarships.

DAP leaders have also claimed that the limited number of scholarships offered and the unfair distribution process are reasons why many students prefer to earn a living outside the country, exacerbating the current brain drain problem.

Lim said today that to counter this, Penang has implemented policies to retain and attract human talent such as the formation of the Penang Science Council and the Career Assisted Training (CAT) centre, which deals with unemployment and skills shortage.

He added that Penang had also pushed for the establishment of a minimum wage package under the federal government’s Greater Penang Masterplan (GMP), which he said would help retain human talent.
He announced that during a GMP meeting on Thursday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala had agreed that minimum wage must be an “integral ingredient” to turn Penang into Malaysia’s third megalopolis.

“These policy initiatives will help not only to stem the brain drain but also inspire innovation amongst the young.

“BN and MCA has done nothing to stop the two million Malaysians who have left the country except to highlight the annual problem of top students not getting overseas scholarships without resolving the problem,” said Lim.

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