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PETALING JAYA: In a series of media releases, DAP and its youth wing Dapsy have come out strongly in protest of the government’s decision to suspend scholarships for the Public Service Department’s (JPA) degree programmes and bursaries by the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) pre-university courses.

DAP Vice-Chairperson, Teresa Kok said education was important in building the nation’s talents and that slashing funds in the sector was unacceptable.

The Seputeh MP also pointed out that this came at a time when the government had set its sights on achieving a high-income and developed nation status, and efforts to build and retain talents must be sustained, if not doubled.

“With the scholarship suspension, Malaysians must ask if the government is serious in building and retaining talent.”

Kok added that irrespective of solutions to be discussed by Cabinet, there must not be any retraction of approved scholarships and bursaries.

In a similar vein, Dapsy Chief Wong Kah Woh said the government’s decision, which stemmed from weak policies and the mismanagement of public funds, put the future of Malaysian students at risk.

Wong argued that there were more effective ways to save costs without burdening the people, and suggested that the number of cabinet members be reduced instead.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Dapsy Overseer for Tertiary Education, Julian Tan said JPA’s decision could see school-going students demotivated by the move.

“Students who are still in school might lose motivation as there is little incentive… now that their parents will also have to bear the [heavy] burden of education fees on top of rising costs and increased living expenses.”

The Setampin lawmaker recommended a more selective process of awarding scholarships based on meritocracy to the brightest, most deserving students, instead of suspending bursaries and scholarships in toto.

“Scholarships have been misused over the years to benefit students undeserving of it, including those with higher connections, at the expense of those who really deserve it,” he said.

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