Sacrifice 1MDB And Not Our Children’s Future To Save Our Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam(JPA) Scholarships.(e/c)

Press Statement by the Chief Minister of Penang Lim Guan Eng in Komtar, George Town on 22.1.2016

As a major exporter of crude palm oil that also relies on oil-related revenues to finance growing expenditures by the Federal Government, Malaysia faces a fiscal crisis with recent drop in oil prices. For this reason, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is forced to recalibrate the 2016 Budget on 28 January 2016 to make up for the revenue shortfall.

Based on Penang Institute’s statement back in October 2015, it was already expected that the then decrease in oil price would reduce the national coffers from RM64 Billion in 2014 to RM29.4 Billion in 2016. This would translate to crude oil based revenue forming 29 percent of total government revenue in 2014 and a low 13 percent of total government revenue for 2016.

The slump in oil prices will force the Federal government to cut down on the 2016 Federal Budget of RM267 billion but instead of reducing leakages such as corruption, waste and inefficiencies, DAP is shocked that our students’ future is targetted. We should be protecting our top students’ right to higher education scholarships both locally and overseas, as the first bastion for a better future, instead of sacrificing it as the first victim of a weakened economy and poor governance.

Undoubtedly, this move will affect 700 student placements yearly and significantly jeopardises tertiary study opportunities for top students from poor and underprivileged backgrounds. More important however, is the perverse logic behind the Federal Government’s move. On one hand, we are annually ‘surprised’ by the record number of students obtaining straight A’s in major national examinations. On the other hand, why create more ‘candles’ to light the nation only to snuff them out in dark or financially trying times?

DAP urges BN to focus their attention on promoting better governance within the public administration; fishing out and punishing corrupt leaders and office-bearers; curbing unnecessary wastages and suspicious spending as have been emphasised in the yearly Auditor-General’s Reports; stopping funds from disappearing though the many leaking holes in the system; doing away with exorbitant foreign consultancies; delaying mega-projects which will only enhance our federal leaders’ penchant for useless white elephants instead of benefiting the citizens and reducing wasterful government expenditures on private jets or purchasing expensive hotels in London. The Federal government should be sacrificing 1MDB, which caused the RM42 billion scandal, or even exchange the RM2.6 billion donation scandal to save our JPA scholarships for our top students’ and our country’s future.

In contrast, the Penang State Government will not follow the Federal Government’s irresponsible action to destroy our youths’ aspirations and future. Last year, the Penang state government started the RM40 million Penang Future Foundation (PFF), from private contributors to provide Penang and Malaysian top students with local scholarships to local universities. Focused on science, engineering and technology courses, the PFF will not be cut but continue to provide scholarships for local universities. Interested students are advised to for more information on the scholarship and timelines.









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