"... 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 LiangThere 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.