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Scholarships for S’wak, Sabah hijacked?

 | September 12, 2013

Sarawak DAP is in disbelief that there are less than 50% Sarawakians and Sabahans who qualified for federal scholarships.

KUCHING: More than 50% of federal scholarships allocated to Sarawak and Sabah students to pursue their education in local universities had allegedly no takers and as such went to students in Peninsular Malaysia.

More surprising however is the fact that this “loss” to the two states has been going on since 2008 and no one was wiser.

At least not until today when Minister in the Prime Minister Department Joseph Entulu’s shocking revelation was front-paged in the local media.

According to Entulu, of the 1,000 scholarships allocated to Sarawak and Sabah in local universities in 2008, only 499 were successful in their applications.

In 2009 there were only 402 from Sarawak and Sabah and this meant “500-plus places were not filled up” again. The situation was the same for 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Entulu went on to add that the situation was equally depressing for scholarships for overseas studies.

He said in 2008 only 110 students were awarded the scholarships out of 200 slots reserved for the two states.

“In 2009 it was okay; in 2010, it was not bad. But in 2011 the number of recipients dropped and the most glaring part was that in the case of Sarawak, we could not fill our quota in 2008 and 2011 for overseas scholarships,” Entulu said.

The disclosure has puzzled Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen.

Chong claimed he had received complaints from Iban and Bidayuh students who scored 5As, 6As, 7As and even 8As but who had their applications for scholarships rejected.

“How is it not even 50% of our quota had been fulfilled? I am sure our students are eligible for all these scholarships,” he said.

Inherent discrimination?

Chong found it “more shocking” that the “loss” had been going on for the past few years and the government had not thought fit to disclose the details.

“We want to know if this is an inherent discrimination against Sarawak and Sabah in the educational system.

“I am sure some of the scholarships in our quota are given for the benefit of students from Peninsular Malaysia.

“How can the government allow these shortfalls to go on? We want to know the full details, including the racial breakdown as to who got the scholarships.

“Either the government is negligent in this matter or it is hiding something,” Chong said.

Entulu, who revealed the figures when launching Bumiputera Technical Committee for Sabah and Sarawak (BTCSS) by Barisan Nasional (BN) here yesterday, had also noted that Sarawakians had not been able to fill the annual quota for special programmes meant for top performers to take up engineering courses in France, Germany, South Korea and Japan.

He said in 2012 although 29 of the 30 places given to Sarawak were filled up, Entulu was disturbed that the slots were mostly taken up by students from urban schools.

He said there was a need for ‘special consideration” to be given when selecting candidates.

“The rural schools fared very badly. I do not think they should be given the same standard of criteria as that of urban students,” he said.

Lost opportunities

Meanwhile Entulu’s disclosure has also surprised and saddened PRS president James Masing.

Refusing to lay blame on any one party, Masing said the missed opportunities for scholarships could be because students and parents were both ignorant of its availability.

“It is a pity that we are losing out on these opportunities. There is money. Other people used it as we did not,” he said.

Also read:

Harris blames local reps for Sabah’s woes


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