Study loans criteria not that strict, says minister

PASIR GUDANG: The criteria for school-leavers applying for scholarships or education loans are not as strict as claimed by certain parties, says Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

The Higher Education Minister also denied allegations that the tight criteria were the reasons so many had chosen not to continue their studies after completing their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).

“There are no tight criteria. For the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), we will only look at the salaries of the students’ parents.

“Maybe those who are saying the criteria are too strict are those who did not pass (the SPM) or wanted to take a course that is not suitable for the results they had obtained,” he said when met after visiting Politeknik Ibrahim Sultan here.

Mohamed Khaled said the ministry launched the First Child Student Development Programme (Sulung) to help those from B40 gain access to tertiary education.

He said 10,000 students from B40 who were the first to enter university in their family would get fee exemptions under the programme.

“So, even if they want to get loans, it will be to pay for other expenses and not for their fees,” he said.

A Malay daily had reported that many school-leavers opted not to continue their studies due to the strict criteria for loans and scholarships.

Angkatan Mahasiswa Universiti Malaya president Nur Nazirah Abdullah reportedly said among the factors that contributed to students not wanting to continue their studies was because they did not have enough money.

She also said the criteria set by the Public Service Department (JPA) where students needed to have at least 9A+ or A in their SPM to be eligible to apply for sponsorship had indirectly affected their interest in furthering their studies.

In an unrelated matter, Mohamed Khaled, who is also Umno vice-president, said the party wants to contest its traditional seats in the upcoming six state elections.

“I do not have the details on the number of seats Umno will be contesting as I am not involved in the seat negotiation. We will try to continue contesting our traditional seats,” he said.

On the overlap of seats between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan, he said negotiations on the matter are at the final stage with only a few seats yet to be finalised.

On Sunday, Umno secretary-general Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki reportedly said that of the 245 state seats to be contested, only nine were yet to be finalised due to overlapping claims.

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