KUALA LUMPUR: SPM students hoping to apply for the Graduate Bursary Programme will not have to remain in the dark for long as the Government is expected to make a “huge” announcement soon, involving “structural changes” to the scholarship.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said he was aware of the students’ anxiety, adding that the matter was deliberated at the Cabinet meeting last Friday.
“It is up to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to decide and announce the details,” he told reporters after a briefing with village heads from Selangor and Kuala Lumpur at Wisma MCA here yesterday.
A decision, said Dr Wee, was likely to be made during the Cabinet meeting tomorrow, adding that he believed it would be announced before the month is over.
Asked why the announcement could not be made earlier, Dr Wee said there were many factors to consider, adding that it could not be done “frivolously”.
“A study is being made on how much is the cost (to sponsor these scholars), what is the Government’s capability, and how the scholars will be selected,” he said.
There would be “structural changes”, said Dr Wee, to the new scheme in line with the constraints of the recalibrated budget, adding that the scholarship would be turned into a “more holistic” one.
To a question on the “structural changes”, Dr Wee said he had to respect the Prime Minister’s prerogative to announce the changes.
Declining to reveal further, he assured that “the new direction” they were pursuing would be made in the country’s best interests.
It is believed that the new scholarships will include mandatory clauses for recipients to return and serve in Malaysia.
Dr Wee also urged those who hoped to apply to be patient as the announcement would address three different scholarships.
“The first is regarding the scholarship for the most outstanding scholars in the country, followed by another for engineering courses abroad.
“The final one will be on the bursary which involves the 744 recipients who are still unclear about the new details,” he said.
Earlier this year, the 744 recipients who aspired to study at the top 20 universities in the world were stumped when it was announced that they would only be allowed to continue their studies at local universities.
Since 2012, students who received 9A+ in SPM were automatically eligible to receive the national bursary and later, a scholarship by the Public Service Department to pursue their studies overseas.
However, the Internet link to apply for the bursary, which is usually posted on the ministry’s website once the SPM results are announced, is still inaccessible.
Source : The Star