Cabinet next Wednesday should consider and approve DAPSY proposal that all the 663 SPM top-scorers who scored 1As in all subjects should be granted full university scholarships

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Friday): The release of the 2002 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results had its full share of moments of ecstasy, rejoicing, sorrow and even tragedy, from the history-setting achievement of SM(P) Kuen Cheng (Kuala Lumpur) Science student Yap Sui Lin, who scored 16As (15 1As and a 2A for Bahasa Melayu) and the suicide of SM Tuanku Ampuan Najihah (Seremban) Science student, J. Lakshmi who failed to get the 6As she wanted, securing 2As for Mathematics and English Language and credits for the remaining subjects with P7 for Bahasa Melayu paper, and upset that she could not afford to continue her education in a private college.

The number of top scorers in last year's SPM increased with 663 candidates obtaining 1A for all subjects and 2,732 candidates obtaining a combination of 1A and 2As, compared to 489 and 2,116 respectively last year.

The Cabinet next Wednesday should consider and approve the proposal by DAPSY National Secretary, Loke Siew Fook that all the 663 SPM top-scorers who scored 1As in all subjects should be granted full university scholarships, to send a clear and unmistakable message of a new educational ethos in the country where the benchmarks are performance, achievement and meritocracy.

The Cabinet should also award the second group of 2,732 SPM top-scorers who obtained a combination of 1A and 2As for all subjects, with commensurate recognition to encourage the entire student population to compete and excel at the academic level.

However, as befitting a just, caring and compassionate society, there should be mechanisms and systems in place in every school and community to ensure that tragedies like the suicide of Lakshmi do not recur, that all students are fully aware that so long as they are prepared to work hard and improve academically, they will not be denied the right to affordable quality higher education in the country.

Monies spent on giving full scholarships to the 663 SPM top scorers as well as other forms of recognition to the other 2,732 SPM high-fliers, as well as to ensure that the Lakshmis would be assured of the right to affordable and quality higher education, are investments in the future of the country which are more worthwhile than many other forms of government expenditures - including the over RM200 million spent on the 13th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Kuala Lumpur and another RM200 million for the Organisiation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit in October this year.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman