Based on the latest statistics provided by the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Abdul Rahman Suliman, the racial breakdown of receipients was more favourable to non-bumiputeras this year, comprising 23.8% of the receipients. In the past 5 years, it has been consistently limited to 20%.
The Deputy Minister has also provided a breakdown of the racial composition of scholarship receipients by subjects enrolled. It is summarised in the table below:
Non-bumiputeras actually form nearly 30% of the scholarship receipients for those pursuing science and technology degrees. For social sciences, non-bumiputeras also form more than a quarter of the receipients, although the overall number of scholarships for social science candidates form only a tiny 6.7% of all scholarships.
Does these new set of numbers represent a "break" from the past policy of a rigid 80:20 scholarship distribution ratio among ethnic groups? In the past, we know for a fact that there is a rigid formula in place. While non-bumiputeras have benefited a little more in the current year, I'm curious what is the criteria used for scholarship distribution.
[The Deputy Minister] said the criteria used in selecting the applicants was based on academic excellence (65 per cent), involvement in co-curriculum (10), socio-economy and background of families (10) and performance during the interview process (15).However, I'm certain that ethnic grouping continues to play a role in the distribution of scholarships - hence, what's the new "improved" criterion?
I'll continue to argue for reforms in the JPA scholarship programme as proposed in my earlier Scholarships Quota post. We hope to hear more from the Public Servcie Department.