Hopes and dreams shattered following alleged suspension of JPA bursaries

By Jude Toyat
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JT JPA Pic 1

The eight students who gathered together to send a letter of appeal to Adenan on the sudden unofficial suspension of the JPA bursary scholarships.


The first reaction for those affected by the sudden unofficial suspension of the Civil Service Department (JPA) bursary sponsorships was like having their hopes and dreams shattered while some described it as having the rug pulled out from under their feet.

For Ooi Jian Hui, 20, who had expected smooth sailing into university life as he had met all the conditions set by his university of choice, he was quite shocked and disappointed.

“On Jan 11, a few of us received an email to attend a camp in Kuala Lumpur which is for all students who wish to go overseas to study. In the email, the camp is scheduled on Jan 18 so we quickly booked our flight tickets and then we got another email on Jan 15 informing us that the camp was postponed. We were not given any reason, just that it was postponed.

“When we received news that the JPA scholarship was put on hold, we were quite shocked because we just received our results on Jan 13,” he said.

He said that their best hope was for the government to reinstate the JPA bursaries so that they could go to the university of their choice after studying A-Levels for two years as they had fulfilled the JPA conditions, which is to apply to one of the Top 20 university in our respective field.

Ong said that his initial plan was to go to Imperial College London in UK for the engineering course.

Vanessa Jane Banun

Vanessa Jane Banun

Vanessa Jane Banun, 20, first heard the news from a course mate who told her that the link for recipients to apply for the bursaries was taken down from the website, and asked her to check it out. It was true.

As she was browsing online to get further information, she was shocked when she came across an article in Sin Chew Daily online that the bursaries had been suspended.

“I was in deep shock because I had planned to accept the offer letter next month after getting my A-level results. Now my parents are in a dilemma on what to do next since we were dealt this suddenly.”

“I took A-Levels under Malaysia Education Ministry (KPM) Bursary Scholarship so after this KPM Bursary Scholarship we could apply for JPA Scholarship provided we fulfilled the conditions such as getting yourself in the Top 20 universities and the listed universities for specific critical courses.”

She explained that she had received an unconditional offer from University of Queensland for Pharmacy and she could not accept the offer without financial help from JPA.

She was scheduled to attend orientation starting Feb 22 while the semester starts in March.

Her parents expressed their disappointment in the government for the sudden suspensions as it affected not only her, but all the bright students in Malaysia.

She is the first in her family to receive the JPA bursaries, and her younger sister who is awaiting her SPM results also had plans and high hopes of applying for the same bursary as well.

Vanessa Yeo Yiing

Vanessa Yeo Yiing

Her classmate from SMK Green Road, Vanessa Yeo Yiing who was also a JPA recipient, just completed her A-Levels at Taylor’s College.

“I was shocked because this year we were supposed to start studying in our respective universities, and I didn’t expect that anything can go wrong like our scholarship being taken away.”

Since the JPA bursarey had been taken away, she also recently applied to Shell and MyBrain. Although she knows the competition will be fierce, she hopes to land the scholarship. Her other option is to study locally.

Yeo’s mum, Marilyn Remi, 50, felt sad about the matter as the students didn’t deserve it. They had studied very hard to qualify for it so that they could get into a university of their choice.

When her daughter cried after first hearing the news, it broke her heart even more.

“My daughter applied for universities in the UK, US and Canada. She is the first to get JPA scholarship and we felt very happy and glad for her. My youngest daughter who is awaiting her SPM results had also planned to get the JPA bursary as well,” said Marilyn.

“The JPA scholarship was like a carrot stick to motivate students to study very hard because it means a lot to families who cannot afford to send their children overseas for studies.”

She added that they suffered losses of around RM600 which included the cost of a flight ticket to attend the camp in Kuala Lumpur and for buying formal clothes for the camp.

What next?

Following the move by JPA, those affected contacted one another and decided to come together to write a letter of appeal to the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem to highlight their plight.

There were 43 year 2014 bursary scholars (SPM 2013 batch) from throughout the state who managed to get in contact with one another, signed-off in the letter of appeal. Eight of them met up at Wisma Bapa Malaysia yesterday (Jan 22) to hand over a printed copy of the letter to Adenan.

The letter of appeal highlighted and explained their situation as they sought to obtain the support and assistance from Adenan and other Sarawakians so that this matter could be resolved as soon as possible for all bursary scholars in a similar situation.

In a press statement issued by press secretary to the chief minister Ambrose Cheng today (Jan 23), Adenan said that all affected students were welcome to present their petition to the state government.

“Yes, we will help the students. I have given instruction to Yayasan Sarawak to find ways and means on how best to help them,” said Adenan.

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