Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A response: More scholarship for less fortunate Malays

"... if socio-economic point of view is a worthy argument, then JPA should consider awarding more sponsorships to less fortunate Malays from lower income groups. Otherwise, it is a big problem." - Goh Wei Liang
There were several comments received on my view of the JPA Scholarship issue here.

One comment by Goh Wei Liang, a JPA scholar based in Australia caught my attention. Not only for the non-Malay point of view but his feedback of leakage in the system. Thus the question: Are JPA Scholarship an award without socio-economic consideration? Or it is to assist the less fortunate?

His whole comment is reproduced with slight reformating, below:

I am a PSD scholar to Australia and I have always been in the system. I know many officers and foreign country attache under JPA also. So I believe I can share with you many things when it comes to JPA matters.

Let me point out some things that we need to be clear.

First of all, meritocracy is not everything. I wrote on this matter once in my blog here and also in my letter to the Editor of The Star here.

It is like an Oxford Graduate and a Monash University Graduate attending a job interview. Everyone knows that by meritocracy, employers should let the Oxford Graduate get the job.

Perhaps a simpler example is where coursemates with different results applying for a vacancy. It does not mean that the better results kid will get the job. Academic results will just guarantee you a place in the interview and place you at a priority bracket for consideration and it does not guarantee a successful outcome.

Also, for the JPA scholarship controversy, perhaps I might sound racist but the sentiment among the Chinese is that Bumiputeras have a wider scope of sponsorship options. This comes in the form of Petronas and MARA scholarships. MARA sponsorships are basically free of bond as long as you do reasonably well.

The Chinese are looking at a perspective of options and the options seem very limited. So, the Bumi-non Bumi case cannot be used as a point to argue that Bumiputera needs help and the whole picture cannot be seen as the Chinese controlling the whole PSD scholarship allocation.

To most people, the impression is the non-Malays, particularly had sufficient seed capital or sources to finance their education abroad as compared to the Malays.

From what Goh claim, it looks like it is not true.

I have friends who are under MARA, Petronas and JPA. If you ask me, I would say most of these scholars are at least middle class. Not many whom are poor receive the scholarship (extremely rare), thus this nullifies the socio-economic argument of scholarships.

I cannot deny that many non Malays who receive the scholarship are well to do people. Some are Directors of companies, high level executives and many more. Some can even afford to buy cars or properties overseas if not several assets in Malaysia.

The same applies for the Malays. MARA, PSD and Petronas scholars. I see many of them who are rich over here.

So at times it makes me wonder. I am a Chinese who have all the while understood the true meaning of Tun M and Tun Abdul Razak's policy of NEP.

Yet, I wonder how well NEP is implemented. The web of economic level stays close knitted among the upper class. This is especially so between the Malays.

I sincerely hope that if socio-economic point of view is a worthy argument, then JPA should consider awarding more sponsorships to less fortunate Malays from lower income groups. Otherwise, it is a big problem.

I am willing to share more on this matter and provide inputs via emails/follow ups here. For now, I hope JPA ensures that filters are in place even for those who qualify via meritocracy.


Goh Wei Liang said...

bro sorry for the wrong link

I wrote it here


Was busy reading Sivakumar's story on The Malaysian Insider just now.


Hiriyati said...

What Goh said is very true. I know of a doctor who resides in Bukit Antarabangsa who managed to get scholarships for, not one, but two of his children to study abroad!

Anonymous said...

I think this is the root cause of revolt of the majority of Malaysian. Abuse of power and system by the fews....

Scholarship, contracts, nak masuk university, sekolah asrama penuh, rumah kos rendah projek APs permit etc etc..Malah nak naik haji pun.

Tengoklah betul-betul...sapa yang selalu menyalahgunakan kuasa.

Org yang tak patut dapat diberi.
Yang sepatutnya ditolong....hmmm tengok saja.

Ini masanya membetulkan keadaan...kalau tidak we will see a totally new political landscape in Malaysia very soon...

Goh Wei Liang said...

Bro not sure if you got my message earlier, I apologize for the wrong link.

Wrongly copied the link ... wanted to send that sivakumar's story to a family member. haha.

So anyway,


This is the PSD link from my blog. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Being one of the fortunates to receive JPA scholarship, the initial implementation was in fact to give to the less fortunate. This experience is mainly on KPP ( preparatory studies done locally ).

But after a while, there was a cultural issue where these students from, mainly kampungs not adapting/adjusting well to new environment. So decision was to include from the middle class or urban areas as catalyst to set the pace to those from rural areas.

So it works where those from the rural can be exposed and be more extrovert, but I must say, the cases of anak dato or tan sri getting these rewards are very few.

A Voice said...

Goh - Just did.

Anon 3:42 pm - Kampung ppl have trouble adjusting so only send middle class kids?

Thats one crap of an excuse!

Anak orang kaya dan bandar yang mudah rosak kerana dah terdedah dari di Malaysia lagi.

From my knowledge of overseas scholarship for the last 3 decades, I dare refute your denial.

Anon 8:58 AM - Please not easily lean into simplistic political generalisation.

Bear in mind this abuse is not political but cultural. We believe it is alright and a previlage to use our know who.

Contoh macam orang tua2 dulu bangga dan cerita2 orang dapat shorten passport application kerana kenal orang dalam.

Adli Budiman B Ziden@Zaidin said...

yea, most kampung kids i know are way better off studying overseas than the bandar kids.

you should see how budak2 bandar ni menggelabah living the american dream, gambar kat myspace minum arak, partay suma siap. seems like they were in for a cultural shock when they were there, which is weird considering some people think that they know how to adapt better. i guess pasal depa seronok kat sana more freedom kot, sini buat bende2 tu kene semunyik2.

lepas tu bile dah seronok ber-party sakan, haaa! mmg study hancur laaa pe lagi kan?

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who's daughter forgoes meals so that she could save on her study expenditures in egypt. My friend is a single mother who had to support herself and her children singlehandedly for the last 25 over years, living as a financially-strapped urban malay in the city's outskirts. Recently, out of desperation, she applied for financial aid from zakat selangor because her daughter needs to buy her dentistry equipments for her third year studies. For that RM6k, she was given the run-around to complete this form and that form but for the sake of her daughter,she persevered.

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