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Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 19th May 2009: 

6As get PSD scholarship for engineering but 13, 14As no scholarships – whole Cabinet should be sacked for allowing such nonsense year in year out

This is simply outrageous – a student with 6A1s getting a Public Services Department (PSD) scholarship to study engineering while students with 13A1s and 14A1s not getting any scholarships! The whole Cabinet should be sacked for allowing such nonsense, year in year out!

It is none other than the Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Dr. Wee Ka Siong, who revealed this shocking example of the gross injustices and sheer perversity of the PSD scholarship scheme, which makes Malaysians wonder about the quality of the political and civil service leadership in the country.

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” was torn into shreds by the JPA scholarship exercise this year, with thousands of the young generation’s best and brightest burning with protest in their hearts at the injustices of the JPA scholarship system, which is likely to remain with them for life influencing their outlook and mindset.

A typical case is 18-year-old Chin Ee Lyn, former student of SMK Convent Taiping (9A1s and 2As) who is unsuccessful in applying for a JPA scholarship to do accountancy in the UK. She is also not given a “consolation prize” of an offer for matriculation.

Chin has had straight A's for all her public exams and was the top scorer in the state of Perak for her PMR exam.

She recently completed National Service in Kem Sungai Bakap. In school she was a well-rounded achiever. Her co-curricular achievements include being the head of library, prefect, vice-president of the karate club, president of the tennis club, and in the editorial board of her school magazine.

She was also a member of a choir which was the district champion, and received a bronze medal in a state-level Perak Goshin-ryu tournament. She received a merit award in the Wordsmith Competition - Search for Malaysia's Best Teenage Writer in 2007.

Yesterday, together with DAP MPs Fong Kui Lun (Bukit Bintang), Anthony Loke (Rasah) and Tony Pua (Petaling Jaya Utara), I met the PSD director-general Tan Sri Ismail Adam at PSD headquarters at Putrajaya.

Conveying the nation-wide outrage at the injustices of the current PSD scholarship exercise, we asked that the full criteria for scholarship selection as well as the full list of scholarship receipients together with their results be published in the interests of fairness and transparency.

I also personally invited Ismail to the public forum on PSD scholarship awards to be held at the Kuala Lumpur/Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall tonight so that he could address the queries and grievances of the disappointed students and their parents.

On both questions, Ismail said he needed clearance from his political superiors.

After the noon meeting yesterday, I faxed to Ismail an official invitation to the public forum tonight. I hope he would be able to personally attend the public forum after getting the necessary clearance.

As for the authorization for the publication of the full criteria for scholarship selection as well as the full list of scholarship receipients together with their results in the name of fairness, accountability and transparency – this is the least that the Cabinet should do at its meeting tomorrow.

If the Cabinet tomorrow could not even take a policy decision to authorize and direct the PSD to make public the full criteria for scholarship selection as well as the full list of scholarship receipients with the individual results, then the first Najib Cabinet is beyond redemption!

In keeping with the Najib motto of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”, the Cabinet at its meeting tomorrow must come up with a swift and just solution to the scandal of the PSD scholarship awards, based on the following three principles:

  • Firstly, it would be unfair and unjust to withdraw any PSD scholarship which had been awarded last Friday;

  • Secondly, all students with 9A1s and above should be awarded PSD scholarships – which means an increased allocation of RM300 million for JPA scholarships from RM700 million to RM1 billion. A special supplementary estimate of RM300 million for 2009 should be presented to the June meeting for this new allocation and the government can be assured of support from Pakatan Rakyat MPs. I don’t think any Barisan Nasional Minister or MP could argue against such an increased allocation when there is gross misuse of public funds – like the RM12 billion Port Klang Free Port scandal.

  • Thirdly, the whole system of PSD scholarship awards should be revamped from next year onwards to end the perennial complaints every year about the injustices of the awards so that it is in full accord with the slogan “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”. A Parliamentary Select Committee headed by an Opposition MP should be formed in June meeting of Parliament to completely revamp the PSD scholarship system.

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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