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Review scholarship policy to promote national unity

Public universities like UUM must remain neutral

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How do we progress at a faster pace with better income distribution and even shared wealth if we continue to reject some of our best students, wonders Ramon Navaratnam. I was touched by the sad letter written by Ho Jan Yang to the press entitled “Harsh reality of education in Malaysia“.

Ho bluntly stated, “I am a victim of the injustice in our education system which seems to defy the global trend by awarding scholarships to students based not on academic excellence but racial agendas.”

I understand that his serious view is shared by most fair-minded Malaysians and especially non-bumiputera parents and particularly our non-bumiputra students.

The Ministry of Education under the new Pakatan Harapan government definitely owes it to all Malaysians, bumiputeras and non-bumiputeras, to comprehensively clarify the truth of this sensitive matter, as soon as possible. This is essential to protect and promote national unity and progress.

Ho claims that he achieved all As in his primary school (UPSR), lower-secondary (PMR) and upper-secondary (SPM) exams – but got “zero scholarships for my tertiary education”.
Even his application for a loan from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN ) was rejected.

Those who are compassionate can easily empathise and sympathise with Ho, the aggrieved complainant.

We also wonder what this apparent injustice can do to undermine Ho’s and many other students’ sense of loyalty, patriotism and pride in our country Malaysia.

How will this apparently discriminatory scholarship policy and practice aggravate the severe brain drain of our best talents to more enticing foreign countries, both near and far?

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How do we progress at a faster pace with better income distribution and even shared wealth if we continue to reject some of our best students, on the basis of arguments that are archaic and unsustainable in this modern world of the digital economy?

First of all, we need to know the full facts of this pathetic appeal by Ho for his “hope for a silver lining in the cloud of challenges confronting Malaysian students now”.

We appeal to the Ministry of Education to respond and to clarify Ho’s difficult and regrettable scholarship experiences.

I would also appeal to the new Pakatan government to review and revise the present scholarship polices and practices to enhance rather than erode national unity and the future progress of our country.

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