Friday, June 16, 2006

PSD Scholarships: East Malaysia Angle

This is not so much a posting of opinion rather than a call for discussion and information. Tony has blogged about the plight of PSD scholarship applicants rejects here. I want to discuss the scholarship issue from a different perspective - from an East Malaysia angle. This was sparked off by a recent report in the Star, which highlighted the plight of Cornelius Ng, 17, who obtained 11 1As and two 2As in last year’s SPM examination and was also chief prefect at SMK Sungai Maong as well as a librarian. SMK Sungai Maong is a school in Kuching, Sarawak.

My perception has been that it is traditionally easier for Chinese in Sarawak and Sabah to obtain government scholarships because the racial quota in East Malaysia is seen as more 'fluid' or 'less rigid'. Furthermore, my impression is that, results like that of Cornelius, which might not necessarily stand out in Peninsular Malaysia, would be seen as pretty outstanding in the context of East Malaysia for two reasons: (i) the number of Chinese top scorers are lower compared to East Malaysia because of the smaller number of Chinese and (ii) the % of Chinese who score straight A1s is also lower because of lower levels of competition.

But apparently, this is not the case as Cornelius is only one of 138 Sarawakians (presumably all Chinese) who asked the youth section of the SUPP to appeal on their behalf (Apparently, all 138 appeals were unsuccesful).

The political situation in East Malaysia, especially Sarawak, is certainly a little bit different compared to the Peninsular. For example, there are Chinese mayors in major Sarawak cities (Sibu, Kuching) and there is also a Chinese Deputy Chief Minister (George Chan, SUPP), both unprecedented in the context of Peninsular Malaysia. But does this kind of exception extend to the scholarship arena, which is seeen as much more of being under federal jurisdiction?

My sense is that there is a difference but I'm not sure of where the lines are drawn. I stand to be corrected, especially in the light of the situation with Cornelius and many others like him.


Anonymous said...

Coming from East Malaysia myself, I would have to say that the results might have been outstanding five years ago, but now it seems that a lot of people are getting those results and better in my schools. So, no. Close, but no cigar...

Anonymous said...

I have always wondering about this question:

How you draw the line between a BUMiputera and NON-BUMIputera?

Is this something man-made?

There were some debates about MALAYS being migrant from Australia or Yunnan (Southern China) and then they settle here (Kepulauan Melayu). By the time they reach here, these archipelago had already being occupy by those Orang Asli we known today.

So how?

Can someone enlighten me? Really, just out of curiosity, hope these aren't offensive to those.

Curious Garfield...

Anonymous said...

Please contact Prof Khoo Khay Kim at University Malaya. He will be keen to explain to you

Anonymous said...

Read our Tun Dr M's book "Dilemma Melayu" where he justified the B status.

He drawed the similarity between the Malacca Kingdom and the White Administration in the land down under.

He said the people that first established formal government
in a land and started a foreign policy qualified themselves to
be the owner of the land.

Just for your reference.

Anonymous said...

The difference between BUMIPITRA and NON BUMIPUTRA is only in the SPELLINGS!
Isn't it obvious?

res ipsa loquitor

joyce said...

This year JPA has been less transparent than ever about the meritocracy involved in their dealing-out of scholarships.

Traditionally (which means before this year) East Malaysians have had a higher advantage in general over those from the Peninsular in obtaining scholarships, mainly because JPA wants to bring up professionals and university undergraduates in both (relatively rural) states. This happens more so in Sarawak than in Sabah because Sarawakians are usually among the top scorers in the country - usually from Sibu's famous Sacred Heart school.

However, this year, the amount of JPA scholarships distributed has seemed to drop all over the country. The reason why this seems to be a bigger problem in Sarawak this year is that SUPP has made a much bigger case for the Chinese students from Sarawak, probably to gain brownie points in this year's Sarawak elections. I am an ex-student of SMK St Teresa, Kuching, and none of the top scorers there have received any sort of offer from JPA. This is not because of any racial issues; both Chinese and Bumiputera top scorers alike have been disappointed by JPA. This surprises and alarms me.

I highly recommend that JPA publishes statistics on the amount of scholarships given out and quotas according to state to eliminate confusion and murmurs about their lack of transparency. What do they have to lose?