Among the thousands of comments left on my blog, I have noted a sizeable number from students or parents on the subject of scholarships for SPM achievers. Although I am unable to respond directly and frequently to you, I do take note of the issues you have raised, and will continue to pursue viable measures to address them.
Recently I announced that all students who do well in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination are eligible to receive Public Service Department (JPA) scholarships. It was decided that – irrespective of whether you are Malay, Chinese, Indian, or from any other ethnic group – all students will qualify for scholarships if you obtain 9A+ or more. This is a Government that will listen to the needs on the ground, and I am certain you agree that this merit-based opportunity indicates that my colleagues and I are very serious about bringing forth a transformation in line with the 1Malaysia concept.
At the same time, meritocratic principles in a growing country such as ours must be applied along with principles of social justice. This means that students with fewer socio-economic opportunities who score lower than 9A+ will also be given support for further studies. For example, a student living in poor conditions in a clearly disadvantaged area might not achieve a 9A+ result, but is still capable of producing an excellent result, despite the handicap. For this display great perseverance against challenging circumstances, you can see that the student deserves to be supported to pursue a higher education. Hence, in recent months, I have witnessed several grants awarded to students living in Tumpat, Long Banga, Kanowit, Brickfields and in Putrajaya, to name but a few.
Other initiatives are in the pipeline, which I am personally looking into, which will give more of you the opportunity to realise your goals and dreams, and to make your parents proud. A portion of the savings achieved by the Government from the recent subsidy rationalizing exercise will also be channelled towards more education opportunities.
To my younger readers: embrace this golden opportunity to succeed. This is a clear manifesto that we are here to help you. We want you to do well. We have listened to your needs and to the requests left by your parents in this blog and have laid down a clear path for you to excel academically. I urge you to take this chance by the scruff of the neck to fulfill your dreams.
Parents and teachers alike must guide and encourage our young to focus on realising their aspirations through hard work. Remind them that they will be rewarded for their high grades, and never allow them to waver. Their education begins from home.
I believe it’s fair to say that despite the trials and tribulations you face in the pursuit of education, many of you aspire to emulate today’s icons are where they are because of their relentless efforts, come rain or shine. The journey to create the stars of tomorrow therefore begins today. I also look forward to the day you, the young readers of my website, will be among those achievers who have proven their academic excellence and are fulfilling their personal dreams and ambitions.