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15 June 2010

Malaysia cannot fund scholarships

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A Malaysian minister yesterday said the government did not have the 'capacity' to finance the studies of the growing pool of bright students in the country, reported The Strait Times web site.

Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said the public would just have to accept the reality of the situation although it was an unpopular decision.

“We have to tell the truth. We just cannot afford it. Just as parents cannot afford to send their children abroad to further their studies, the government cannot afford it,” he was quoted as saying by Malaysian Insider. “We do not have the financial capacity that permits us to send every good student abroad.”

Mr Nazri, who is the minister in charge of Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships, was explaining the Cabinet's decision eventually to scrap the 1,500 scholarships offered to students for undergraduate studies overseas. He said the government spent billions on scholarships annually and could no longer afford to accommodate the growing pool of bright students.

“There are two things here. One, it is financial capacity. Secondly, it is this: However we do it, whether we reclassify the As that the students get to A+, A and A-, the fact remains that this year alone, the number of students who obtained nine A+ was over 1,200. This means the boys and girls are getting more and more clever and we cannot reduce the number of scholarships we give out by re-grading the As any further,” he said.

As a result, said Mr. Nazri, the Cabinet agreed last week that PSD scholarships given to students applying for courses at foreign universities would go only to those pursuing postgraduate courses, and not undergraduate courses.


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