Call for action on scholarship take-up in Sarawak, Sabah
by Churchill Edward
Out of 1,000 scholarships for local universities allocated to Sabah and Sarawak in 2008, only 499 students from the two states were successful in their applications leaving the remaining 501 places to be taken up by students from Peninsular Malaysia.
The Management of Chung Hua Primary School Nos. 1-6 committee yesterday called upon authorities administering scholarships of local universities to remedy the situation where quotas for scholarships for students from Sabah and Sarawak were not being filled over the last few years.
Its chairman, Dr Chou Chii Ming, said they should now address the situation via wide press publicity and issuing circulars to all government and private universities inviting applications for such scholarships from students, giving students ample time to apply.
Chou was referring to a front page article of The Borneo Post yesterday that stated only less than half of the quota of 1,000 scholarships for Sabahan and Sarawakian students to study locally was filled up and the same happened in 2010, 2011 and last year.
This was revealed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun on Wednesday during a press conference.
The Selangau MP also said that Sarawak could not fill up the annual quota for special programmes meant for top performers to take up engineering courses in France, Germany, South Korea and Japan. Even if the quota was almost filled up as it was in 2008, the students were mostly from the urban areas.
Yesterday, Chou thanked Entulu by saying: “It is good and timely for a Sarawakian federal minister to reveal this unsatisfactory situation that Sarawakian and Sabahan students did not fill up the number of allocations of local scholarships for the last few years.
“It is difficult to blame any party for this happening now until we hear a clarification from the authorities concerned on remarks of the federal minister.
“We wish that our federal minister will continue to oversee this matter for the benefit of students of Sarawak and Sabah,” he added.
When contacted yesterday, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Women vice chairperson Voon Shiak Ni said Sarawakians should be given the necessary assistance to apply for the scholarships allocated for them.
There must be more efforts to channel the opportunities to all students, she stressed.
On the issue that some students might not be aware of the opportunities for scholarships, especially those in the rural areas where access to the Internet is a problem, Voon suggested that respective schools conduct briefings for their students on the availability of the scholarships apart from helping them to make the applications.
“We seriously urge the ministry concerned to look into the issues and to reflect why there are not enough takers for the scholarships. It is not a solution to let west Malaysians fill up the quota for Sarawak because west Malaysian students had their allocations too,” she said.
Each year, the state produced ample number of good students in both urban and rural schools but in some cases applications for scholarships were rejected, Voon said, adding that state PKR will ask them to appeal.
“Yet we have the statistics of half of the quota of the allocations were not filled by Sarawakians and these were given to west Malaysians,” she said.
Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Masing on Wednesday called on qualified students to get in touch with the newly formed PRS Education Bureau so that it can direct them to the relevant authorities.
Masing said: “We have the opportunities for us (Sarawakian students) to better ourselves in education – be it via local or overseas education scholarships – but the problem is we are always under-represented. So those who were not aware (of the opportunities), please be aware that they are now available.”
He also called on parents whose children scored 7As in SPM core subjects to come forward to PRS or any other Dayak-based NGOs including Dayak Cultural Foundation (DCF) to seek their assistance over the matter. PRS Education Bureau is handled jointly by the party’s youth club, PRS 30, chief Lydia Dundun, PRS new Youth chief Liwan Lagang (also Belaga assemblyman) and Hulu Rajang MP Wilson Ugak Kumbong.