I WAS touched by the sad letter written by Ho Jan Yang, “Harsh reality of education in Malaysia” (The Star, June 13).
Ho bluntly stated that he was “a victim of the injustice in our education system, which seems to defy the global trend by awarding
scholarships to students based not on academic excellence but racial agendas”.
I understand that his serious view is shared by most fair-minded Malaysians, especially non-bumiputra parents and students.
The Education Ministry under the Pakatan Harapan government definitely owes it to all Malaysians, bumiputra or otherwise, to comprehensively clarify the truth on this sensitive matter as soon as possible. This is essential in order to protect and promote national unity and progress.
Ho claimed that he achieved all As in his UPSR, PMR and SPM examinations, but got “zero scholarships for my tertiary education”, and even his application for repayment exemption for his National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) loan was rejected.
Those who are compassionate can easily empathise and sympathise with Ho, the aggrieved complainant.
We also wonder what this apparent injustice can do to undermine Ho’s and many other students’
loyalty, patriotism and pride for our country.
How will this apparently discriminatory scholarship policy and practice aggravate the severe brain drain of our best talents to more enticing foreign countries, both near and far?
How do we progress at a faster pace in economic growth and better income distribution and even shared wealth if we continue to reject some of our best students on the basis of arguments that are archaic and unsustainable?
But we do need to know the full facts of this poignant appeal by Ho for his “hope for a silver lining in the cloud of challenges confronting Malaysian students now.”
We appeal to the Education Ministry to respond and clarify Ho’s difficult and regrettable scholarship experiences.
I would also appeal to the Pakatan government to review and revise the present polices and practices in awarding government scholarships to enhance national unity and the future progress of our country.
TAN SRI RAMON NAVARATNAM
Asli Centre of Public Policy Studies