PETALING JAYA: MyBrain15 scholarship applicants are caught between a rock and a hard place.
Many have yet to receive a response to their applications, with some having waited for seven months so far.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak allocated RM300mil in the revised Budget 2016 late last month for this programme.
The MyBrain15 programme under the Higher Education Ministry was introduced by the Government in 2008 with the aim to produce 60,000 PhD holders by 2023.
Najib said the Government agreed to the increase of 15,000 new students for the MyMaster programme, 5,000 for MyPhD, and 300 for Academic Training Scheme of Public Higher Education Institutions (SLAI).
Applicants have taken to the “MyBrain15 KPT” Facebook page to vent their frustration at the lack of response.
Kala, 30, who resigned from her job as a paralegal worker in October so that she would have a better chance of getting the scholarship, is unable to begin her Masters in Law at Universiti Malaya (UM).
“My offer was for February 2016. Today (yesterday) is supposed to be my first day of class but I could not attend or accept the offer as I couldn’t make the payment on time,” said Kala, who had expected a confirmation by December.
“I have also written a letter to the Assistant Dean appealing if I could defer the offer to the September intake but I have yet to hear from them.”
Izzuan Ishar, 25, who is pursuing his PhD in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in Johor Baru, had to fork out his own money for the first semester as he has been waiting for a response since August last year.
“I am now in my second semester and I have to make payment before the final examinations or else I will be terminated,” said Izzuan.
He said that as a full-time student, he was also hoping to receive the RM2,300 allowance provided to PhD students who are not working.
“Now I will wait till the end of this month for a response from MyBrain15 before I decide to take up a part-time job.”
Another applicant who only wanted to be known as Florence said she has been waiting for six months since sending in her application.
She also resigned from her job as a lecturer to be eligible for the allowance as a PhD student.
“Now every semester, my husband has to pay RM2,500 and he is the only one working, so we are stressed,” said Florence.
“At least if I know I didn’t get it, I can find another solution. If there is no more money, tell us so that we don’t keep on waiting and hoping for a response.”
It is learnt that the ministry will release a statement some time this week.