MP raps gov't over tightening of PSD scholarship criteria

(Updated )

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok has ticked off the government for the tightening of conditions to qualify for scholarships by the Public Services Department (PSD).

"Under the old programme, full sponsorship was given as long as an Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) student scored 9A+ and above.

"Under the new programme, a new condition has been imposed, whereby only those achieving A+ for all the subjects taken will get the PSD sponsorship," she said in a statement today.

Kok said the new condition was "unfair and illogical".

"It is unfair as it was an abrupt last-minute change for the 2016 SPM scorers who have thought that their application will be subjected to the condition in the old programme.

"It is illogical as it now means that while a student who has scored all A+ in the nine subjects taken qualifies for scholarship, another student who has taken 11 subjects but scored only 10 A+ will not be granted a scholarship," she said.

Koh said such a condition will deter students from taking up additional subjects such as Mandarin and Tamil language.

Koh urged the cabinet to intervene in the matter, noting that Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Wee Ka Siong had said the matter was decided without being brought to the cabinet.

"The cabinet should therefore intervene and direct the PSD to rescind the new condition and to grant full sponsorship to students as long as a student scored 9A+ and above," she said.

PSD previously provided scholarships to students to pursue a degree overseas but this was stopped last year due to budget constraints.

It was replaced with the Bursary Graduate Programmes which offered SPM students scholarships to study locally.

It had since been renamed the National Sponsorship Programme following the tightening of conditions.

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