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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21, 2016:

A DAP lawmaker has slammed the Cabinet decision to suspend specific Public Service Department (JPA) scholarships, seeking answers that led to the “sacrifice” of 700 students.

Seremban MP Anthony Loke said this decision would have serious implications upon those planning to pursue higher education, especially among those who were from low income-earning families.

“Without the scholarship, there is a high possibility that the students would not be able to continue their education, especially in foreign universities.

“According to the 2016 Estimated Federal Expenditure, the estimated number of students who would be receiving first degree scholarships from JPA is 11,604.

“The government needs to explain whether this decision to stop scholarships, as reported, would be overall and involving all students or just the 700 who are affected?” he said in a statement today.

He further asked the government to explain why it was just these 700 who would be “victimised”.

It was reported yesterday that JPA scholarships were suspended for degree courses and the Education Ministry’s bursary for pre-university programmes.

This decision was made because of failing national revenue, with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Wee Ka Siong having made the announcement, reported Sin Chew Daily.

The decision was reported to affect 700 students, applying for both local and overseas scholarships.

Loke said if there was any allocation that should be reduced, the Prime Minister should show “example” by reducing allocations for discretionary spending instead.

He noted that according to the 2016 federal expenditure, allocation for JPA scholarships were RM1,653,054,100, which already was a reduction from 2015’s allocation of RM1,931,488,100.

“DAP urges Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to immediately cancel the decision and give full commitment of the government that not a single excellent student who was offered scholarships for 2016 will be sacrificed in this process of revising Budget 2016.”

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