PETALING JAYA, June 23 — The Najib administration has decided to only giveService Department (PSD) scholarships to university entrants instead of SPM top scorers from 2012 to avoid the distress they have caused in past years. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak however said those who do well in the Form Five SPM examination will receive small bursaries instead to pursue their foundation studies.
“Scholarships will be reserved if you are able to get very good results (at foundation) and (a) place at top universities,” said Najib (picture) in an interview with the Chinese-language One FM radio station today.
“Giving out scholarships at SPM level is not a good idea... Just because you do well at O-levels doesn’t mean you’ll do well at A-levels,” he added. Putrajaya gives out 1,500 scholarships annually and has asked government-linked companies to also offer money for top scorers.
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek had said last week public examinations are too easy, leading to a high number of top scorers seeking scholarships.
Asked which universities were deemed “top” institutions, Najib said they would be identified in due course.
The PM also stressed that not all top students will be given overseas scholarships. “Our universities here need top students as well. Here, we complain our universities are not ranked highly in terms of the world ranking,” he said. “At the same time we insist on sending our top students abroad. It is a contradiction in terms of what we want to achieve,” he added.
The ranking of public institutions in Malaysia has dived through the years to the point of dropping out of the top 200 universities in the QS World University Rankings last year. Six out of seven Malaysian universities, however, improved their ranking on the QS Asian University Rankings this year, with Universiti Malaya climbing three spots to 39th, although no Malaysian university entered the top 10 ranks.
Despite Putrajaya handing out 500 special local scholarships ly on top of the 12,000 PSD grants it gives out annually, many top scorers were still disappointed they did not receive government funding to study overseas.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. Nine hundred 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.