Cabinet on Wednesday should award PSD scholarships to the top 200 SPM high-achievers starting from this year
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Sunday): The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has received nation-wide praise for his intervention resulting in five top SPM high-achievers getting Pubic Service Department (PSD) scholarships to study medicine or pharmacy overseas – the five 13 A1 scorers, Ng Ee Liang, Desmond Chee and Teoh Wan Ying from Penang, Khaw Chok Tong from Pahang and Chew Ying Dee from Perlis.
There are however hundreds of other SPM high achievers who are waiting to be recognized by the government and have legitimate aspirations to be treated with fairness and justice with regard to their higher education hopes and opportunities.
I agree with the UMNO Youth education bureau chairman Ahmad lkmal Ismail that students honoured publicly as the country’s highest achievers should be given priority for scholarships, otherwise any recognition they had received would be meaningless.
Ahmad Ikmal highlighted the case of Ahmad Azim Abdul Rahim, who scored 12 A1s in last year’s Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia and one of 25 top performers who received a certificate of merit signed by the Prime Minister and the Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein last March, but who failed to get a PSD scholarship.
If the government is serious in wanting to transform the nation into an knowledge-based economy giving top priority to human capital, in particular the “best and brightest”, the Cabinet on Wednesday should take the bold and innovative policy decision to award PSD scholarships to the top 200 SPM high-achievers, regardless of race or religion, starting from this year.
All the top 200 top SPM high-achievers this year who have been unsuccessful in the application for PSD scholarships should automatically be made state scholars.
Recently, Malaysians have been shocked by the revelation that Malaysia has become a nation of APs, causing the nation to lose some RM1 billion a year from the tens of thousands of APs a year with some individuals getting hundreds of APs, as well as a nation of Class F contractors with the highest per capita of Class F contractors in the world with some families getting more than half a dozen licences.
Can the Cabinet really say that the nation cannot afford to give PSD scholarships to the top 200 SPM high-achievers every year?
It is better that Malaysia is known in the world as having the highest per capita PSD scholarships for top SPM high-achievers than having the highest per capita for APs or Class F contractors!
* Lim Kit Siang,
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman