Despite Putrajaya handing out 500 special local scholarships last week on top of the allocation of 12,000 Public Service Department (PSD) grants it gives out annually, many topscorers are still disappointed at not receiving government funds to study overseas.
“No government in the world can take care of all education needs. MCA is doing this to ensure that those not caught by the government will receive the help of MCA,” president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek told reporters today.
However, Dr Chua insisted that the fund was not a reaction to the PSD scholarship row that was a source of a heated public debate between Chinese-based parties including DAP and the right-wing Malay ground — Perkasa and Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia — but the result of constant dialogue with school leavers.
He also backed down from an earlier request that those scoring straight or at least 9 A+ in the Sijil Pendidikan Malaysia (SPM) should be given overseas scholarships, saying that “as long as they receive scholarships for recognised institutions, why not?”
MCA had recently highlighted 364 cases directly to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for review, 161 of which it said should be given overseas scholarships.
Dr Chua said today that these cases had been solved even though the 500 special grants under the 1 Malaysia Development Board (1MDB) were only for local scholarships.
The main bone of contention in the annual allocation of PSD scholarships centres around the 1,500 overseas grants, of which, only 20 per cent are decided based on merit.
Another 900 are given out based on racial quotas, with Sabah and Sarawak natives getting 75 grants each and the remaining 10 per cent to special needs students.
The former health minister said that the loans given out would be interest-free and Malaysians of all races will be able to apply next month.
The loans would be worth RM30,000 for local universities, RM50,000 for those going abroad and between RM80,000 to RM100,000 for those pursuing postgraduate studies.
The committee setting up the fund will be chaired by secretary general Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.