Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong has defended Putrajaya's decision to give only Public Service Department (PSD) bursaries for studies in local higher learning institutions.

He said it was a compromise, which allowed students to still get a quality education even when the economy was down.

He also said there was no shortage of high quality education in Malaysian universities.

"To fund first degree studies overseas for 744 students will cost the government an estimated RM1 billion.

"Such a sum will put pressure on the government's finances when the global economy is volatile," he said in a statement today.

Wee said the hard decision was reached after a discussion between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and himself.

"I do note that the adjustment is not a perfect solution.

"However, we wish to appeal for understanding and patience from those affected. This decision is a compromise the government must make given the difficult economic challenges brought on by external factors," Wee said.

Earlier today, Najib in his Budget 2016 recalibration speech announced that PSD bursaries would be provided to 744 students to study at public and private universities in Malaysia.

The PSD Bursary Programme is open to applicants who are high-achieving pre-university graduates.

Its scholarship programme is for high-achieving secondary school leavers.

Najib said 8,000 scholarships would be provided for those taking undergraduate studies at local universities.

PSD will continue to sponsor top 20 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) scorers to study anywhere in the world.

It will also provide scholarships to 200 engineering students to pursue degrees in South Korea, Japan, Germany and France.

Earlier today DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke slammed the decision to provide scholarships to students to study in local universities only. 

"The decision to slash the allocation for the PSD bursary and scholarships as announced by Najib this morning is regrettable.

"It fails to place importance on the future of our country's human capital," he said in a statement today.

Loke also said Najib's announcement that the bursary programme would provide for the 744 students, who wanted to take up their first degree at public universities and in private higher learning institutions in the country, was devastating to those who got offers to study abroad.

"Most of them had gotten offers to study at famous universities abroad.

"The government's decision will force outstanding students to turn down those offers and lose the chance to study overseas, and look for other alternatives, including seeking other scholarships in other countries.

"That will lead to a brain drain and cost us our best human capital," he said.

Loke also criticised the decision to cut the budget for the National Scholarship Programme for top SPM students to study at any top university.

Now the programme will only be open to 20 students, instead of 50 students.

"At least 30 top SPM students from 2015 will have to be 'sacrificed'," he said. – January 28, 2016.

Source from TheMalaysianInsider

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