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Media Statement by Loke Siew Fook in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 24th May 2010:

DAPSY calls on the Prime Minister to increase the numbers of PSD scholarships to 2,100 places

There are many excellent students who scored straight As in last year's SPM who failed to get the Public Service Department (PSD) scholarship to further their studies overseas this year. I personally have received many complaints in the last few days since the announcement of the scholarship results were made public through PSD's website last week.

One particular case that I received today was a top student from Seremban, Nesharaj a/l Varatharaj, who did his SPM in SM Sains Alam Shah, Kuala Lumpur. He scored all As in ten subjects, 5A+, 4A and 1A-. He applied to do medicine overseas under the "Program Ijazah Luar Negara". He was rejected. His father is a lorry driver with a monthly income of RM1,500.

I believe Nesharaj's case is not an insolated one and there are thousands of excellent students nationwide who faced the same predicament. One of the reasons why more top students were unable to obtain the PSD scholarships this year was the fact that the numbers of scholarships available have been reduced from 2,100 last year to 1,500 this year. This will greatly affects the chances of many bright students to get opportunity to study overseas especially those from lower-income group.

The numbers of PSD scholarships have grown bigger in the last 10 years but suddenly it was reduced to 1,500 this year due to budget considerations. The numbers of PSD overseas scholarships from 2000 to 2008 are as below (according to Parliamentary reply):

Year Bumiputera Non-Bumiputera Total Financial Allocation (RM'million)
2000 598 150 748 109
2001 609 152 761 96
2002 999 250 1249 116
2003 1314 329 1643 253
2004 1187 297 1484 281
2005 1040 260 1300 391
2006 1143 357 1500 436
2007 1170 630 1800 461
2008 1100 900 2000 659

For 2009, there were 2,100 places offered for excellent students. As human capital is the most important asset for the country, the government must not cut any budget for such important investment for our future. DAPSY calls on the Prime Minister to revert the numbers of PSD scholarships for 2010 to at least the level of 2009 meaning that to increase another 600 places to 2100 from the current 1500 to enable more top students to have the opportunity to further their studies in top universities overseas.

* Loke Siew Fook, DAP Socialist Youth Chief & MP for Rasah



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