Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Two kinds of scholarships

I thought the announcement of these two scholarship programs, one old and one about to be launched, on the same day on the Star was an interesting example of the schizophrenic nature of the Malaysian state. I'll paste some exerpts from both newspaper reports and let our readers make their own judgements. PS Note: My posting volume will be reduced in the next month or so as I'm back in Malaysia and I don't have DSL or broadband at home.

Firstly, the BN scholarship:

KUALA LUMPUR: K. Sathyvelu studied just one-and-a-half hours a day. Yet, he became one of the six SPM top achievers chosen for the Special Scholarship Award by Bank Negara yesterday.

This award enables the carpenter's son to study any course of his choice in one of the top universities in the world chosen by the bank.

Sathyvelu, who scored 15 1As, plans to become one of Malaysia's richest men and cites billionaire philanthropist T. Ananda Krishnan as his role model.

For now though, his love of mathematics and science is prompting him to do Actuarial Science at the London School of Economics.

“One of my dreams is to study overseas, and I know my parents cannot afford to send me abroad. That was the reason I took 15 subjects,” said Sathyvelu.

The others who received the award from Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz yesterday were Nadiah Amirah Jamil from Johor, Afiqah Abdul Aziz from Sarawak, Azwan Arif Abdul Aziz from Perak, Chong Qing Joel from Johor and Siti Fatimah Mukhtar from Kelantan.

Nadiah had 14 1As, four 2As and one 3B and wants to study Pharmacy, Siti Fatimah from Kelantan had 17 1As and one 2A and wants to study medicine and Azwan Arif from Perak had 10 1As and wants to study chartered accounting. All want to study at Cambridge University.

Chong Qing from Johor had 11 1As and wants to study engineering at Imperial College of London while Afiqah from Sarawak with 13 1As wishes to study dentistry but has yet to choose a university.

The scholarship covers full tuition fees, subsistence allowance, airfare and book and computer allowance. Scholars are not bonded but have to return to Malaysia to work.

Zeti said the scholarship was part of Bank Negara efforts towards nation-building.

The selection was stringent and they were looking for candidates who were resilient and adapted to changes easily, she said.

Bank Negara has given out more than 1,000 scholarships to Malaysians and the Special Scholarship Award was introduced three years ago, she said.

Secondly, a scholarship for Muslim students.

PUTRAJAYA: Muslim students who excelled in major examinations will be honoured in the first-ever Muslim Students Excellence Awards to be held on June 23.

Nine awards will be presented to students who did well in the STPM, SPM and PMR examinations.

Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Othman, the religious adviser to the Prime Minister, said this was the first time that Muslim students who did well in their studies would be awarded. The top award will be thePrime Minister’s trophy.

Two awards, he said, would be presented to the special Muslim students in recognition of their hard work and good examination results. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will present the awards in a ceremony to be held at Istana Hotel, organised by the Malaysian Muslim Students Foundation (YPIM).

“At the event, the foundation will be launching a welfare and education fund, so more activities can be held to help Muslim students nationwide,” he said at a press conference yesterday.


Anonymous said...

Accounting and pharmacy at Cambridge?

No worries for the engineering guy, Imperial is hungry for funds, 3As and he's in. Bank negara will pay RM800K..........

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. I don't understand. Both are scholarship awards. The only difference is that one is open for public and the other is awarded to only Muslims. I will consider the latter one as a special prerequisite for the scholarship to be awarded. Even in Europe there are scholarships restricted for EU students and others for overseas students...

Anonymous said...

Understandably if the fund is from Malaysian Muslim Students Foundation (YPIM), I don't see why it should benefit non-muslims.

Tiara said...

Eh? There are many different type of scholarships. Merit, need, full ride, tuition, attribute-based, legacy...

What's so special about these two (out of all the others) that bears mention? What's so schizophrenic about them? (Beside, is "schizophrenic" even the right word? Schizophrenia IS NOT multiple personality disorder.)

The US has scholarships for everything, from being left handed to being tall to having a certain last name. Are they "schizophrenic"?

What A Lulu said...

my initial thought was that it's kindof like share balloting for new issues.
first, they do the cabutan bertuah for the bumi applicants. then those who tak berjaya, their application is combined with the non-bumis, and they get a 2nd chance.

maybe anon 2:26am is right, it's given out by the Malaysian Muslim Students Foundation (YPIM). or is it just the ceremony hosted by them?

Kian Ming said...

Perhaps I should have clarified my 'schizophrenic' comment. The leaders of our country always harp on national unity but at the same time, also try to assert the 'Islamic' nature of the way the government runs the country. Government scholarships, for example, JPA scholarships, are open to ALL Malaysians, regardless of race and religion, even though there is a quota for the different races. At the same time as the Bank Negara scholarship is heading towards a direction of giving out these scholarships equitably, we have the establishment of a government i.e. taxpayers' funded scholarship only for Muslims in Malaysia (I think YPIM hosted the event but the money for the scholarship comes from the government).

The point here is how taxpayers' money is being used. The US might have special scholarships for special categories but these are privately funded scholarships. The EU might have scholarships which restrict it only to EU citizens but it does not differentiate based on the religion or race of the EU citizens.

Anonymous said...

well if anything its hypocrisy.... i say its probably cause bank negara announced a scholarship for all citizens and the muslims couldnt deal with someone either than themselves receving some benefits so to shut them up a specific scholarship just for being muslim was created..... way to promote their religion this is what its shouting out ; ' if u become a muslim, you get all the benefits in life dont worry we wont be fair or have a conscience we like to see others suffer come come kita boleh cause we are the majority, belive me the world laughs at you!!! by the way i do not generalise cause i know a very significant minority of them still have a heart in them, but someones got to say it!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Accounting and pharmacy at Cambridge?

maybe there's a mistake here.

Anonymous said...

I was a Bank Negara scholarshipholder.

Please refer to Bank Negara as BNM, not BN.

These are two very different organisations (or at least many people are trying to keep it that way).

Anonymous said...

i think 2 diff. scholarship is fine here. there are quite a number of scholarships given by Chinese association too, mainly for Chinese student. :)

Anonymous said...

"I think YPIM hosted the event but the money for the scholarship comes from the government"

Private fund for private members. Public fund for public members.

Maybe someone should seek further clarification, especially the author of this article.