Friday, January 22, 2016

Dr Wee: Do not make assumptions on scholarships

Do not assume that the Public Service Department (PSD) has stopped disbursing funds to scholarship holders, said Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

“When news of PSD stopping scholarships was spread, it caused a panic,” he said after chairing the Malaysia Chinese Education Consultative Council at Wisma MCA yesterday.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department reiterated that right now, only those who received the national bursary in 2014 were affected.

Dr Wee added the PSD had yet to make announcements on the matter.

“Don’t pull other schemes into the picture,” he warned. “First, you have no proof. Next, I have not received any such complaint. I can only attend to those I have received.”

It was earlier reported that Dr Wee brought the matter to Cabinet on Wednesday after bursary recipients who are set to start university soon complained that they had yet to receive financial affidavits from PSD.

Responding to calls by the Opposition to cut the Prime Minister’s Department budget to foot the affected scholars’ university fees, Dr Wee replied saying those who made such demands “were not wearing their brains”.

“Cutting PMO’s spending is equivalent to cutting PSD’s budget, because PSD falls under the PMO,” he said.

The education council was formed to promote the sharing of resources and to address issues in Chinese education.

It was formally formed yesterday by 10 organisations, including two Sarawak parties – SUPP and SPBT. It will be chaired by Dr Wee, who is also the MCA deputy president.

“To have other political parties (in the council) is unprecedented. We hope to coordinate the work of all NGOs and streamline the industry, making sure there is no overlapping of responsibilities and to maximise our resources,” he said.

Dr Wee welcomed Gerakan as well as Sara­wak’s Liberal Democratic Party in the council. Among the issues to be discussed in its meeting were the lack of teachers in schools and the setting up of an online portal for schools to apply for funds from the Education Ministry.

Meanwhile, Deputy Education Minister Chong Sin Woon said the Government should continue to give scholarships to Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia top scorers who were scheduled to study abroad this year.

If the Government were to stop giving the scholarships, it should be done after this year, he said, after launching the WeChat’s WeFans Day yesterday.

At another function, Dr Wee said that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) would not be severely affected by the “recalibration” of the national budget.

He added that the Government was aware that SMEs are a catalyst of economic growth and “must be encouraged to expand”.

He was speaking at the SAME Business Proposal Seminar 2016 in Putrajaya yesterday.

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