KUALA LUMPUR: Government officers who failed to follow Cabinet directives is one of the main reasons why top students failed to get the awards, said MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong.
Many students who deserved the scholarships did not get the grants, but those who did not deserve them had successfully obtained the financial assistance, he added.
He described the situation – where qualified students were unsuccessful in their scholarship applications – was the worst this year in all the years when he handled appeals.
Dr Wee said these government officers set their own selection criteria and did not follow what the Cabinet had decided.
“If this trend continues, many Barisan Nasional parties will have to close shop because such a practice will only scare away young voters.
“Many talented young people will also be driven away and this will make the brain drain problem even worse,” he told a press conference at Wisma MCA yesterday.
Dr Wee said students who scored full A+ in the SPM examination were not given priority during the selection process, and were only offered open scholarships for government matriculation programmes or vacancies at local universities.
An open scholarship for matriculation studies is financial assistance given to students only after they have obtained good results during their first year in the programme.
“However, students who obtained poorer results were awarded scholarships to study at universities overseas,” he said.
Previously, the Government announced that 300 of the 1,500 Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships were given based on merit, regardless of race.
Dr Wee said this figure was sufficient to cater to the 363 full A+ scorers.
One of the students facing this problem is Chan Shu Ren from SMK Chung Ching in Raub, who obtained 11A+ in the SPM examination.
Shu Ren, who was present at the press conference with her father Chan Ah Kau, was offered an open scholarship for the government matriculation programme.
“I have friends from the same school who only obtained 8A+ and 9A+ but received PSD scholarships to study in countries like France and India,” Shu Ren said.
Students Lo Chia Hwee from SMK St Teresa, who obtained 10A+, said it was disheartening when she was only offered an open scholarship.
She had worked hard hoping to get a scholarship to study medicine overseas.
Another student, Chai Sheng Min from SMK St Joseph in Kuching, who also obtained 10A+, said he only got a scholarship to study engineering at Universiti Teknologi Petronas while his friends who got 4A+ and 5A+ were awarded scholarships to do Pure Science in the United States.
Dr Wee said MCA would meet with PSD officials to discuss the problem.