PUTRAJAYA: The MyBrain15 programme has been suspended, not axed, said Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik
He said the ministry cannot continue the programme until it received the budget allocation for it.
“The previous government allocated RM90mil for the programme but this money never reached the Education Ministry,” he told reporters after launching the 2017 Annual Report of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.
“This is a political gesture from the previous government.”
Dr Maszlee also said there were more than 10,000 scholars in the programme and RM90mil was not enough to support their studies.
He revealed the actual amount needed for the scholars was RM612mil.
He added that the decision to provide RM612mil for the programme lies with the Finance Ministry and the Economic Planning Unit (EPU).
“The allocation is a huge sum and needs the approval of the EPU and Finance Ministry,” he added.
Dr Maszlee said until a decision is made by the two entities, MyBrain15 would remain suspended.
He said he is committed to helping the recipients receive their scholarships and would try his best to help them.
“I hope you (scholars) will be patient,” he added.
Dr Maszlee came under fire after he said in an interview with RTM that MyBrain15 had been suspended due to the country’s overwhelming debt.
Under Budget 2018, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that a sum of RM90mil had been set aside for the MyBrain15 Programme for 10,600 individuals to further their studies through Masters and PhD.
The MyBrain15 programme, which was under the higher education ministry, was introduced in 2008 with the aim of producing 60,000 PhD holders by 2023.
On another matter, Dr Maszlee said that history experts must be consulted and a study be done to determine if school history textbooks were being used as propaganda material for the previous government.
He said he would not make any comments until the ministry gets input from history experts.
He was commenting on Fahmi Reza’s “challenge” to the Pakatan Harapan on whether they would allow history books to be used as propaganda material.
According to an online news portal on Sunday, the prominent activist said: “So under the new government, if they want to revise the history books, will they follow in the footsteps of the previous administration and turn history books into propaganda tools?”