JPA Scholar Speaks Out


#Sad. Dreams crashed. JPA Scholar Speaks Out. #JanjiTidakDitepati

It seems as though the budget announcement recently do not have large effect on the population as a whole apart from the adjustment of the EPF. However, this recent announcement had a tremendous effect on 700+ of us (busarian) as our scholarship for overseas programme had just been terminated.

This announcement and decision had left all of us lost with no direction at all, even the JPA officers were lost as the instruction came suddenly. Most of us are currently holding offers from the top 20 universities in the world but could not do anything with it due to the sudden decision.

Let me just make a recap of the whole chronology:

April 2011: All 1,609 students who obtained 9A+ and above in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2011 will be automatically offered Education Ministry bursaries(dermasiswa) for local pre-university courses.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that these students will then be eligible for local or overseas scholarships for their tertiary studies from 2014 onwards if they meet the required criteria.
“For the Overseas Degree Programme Scholarships (Biasiswa Program Ijazah Luar Negara, PILN), students must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.5 or its equivalent in their pre-university studies.

“Students who wish to pursue medicine, dentistry and pharmacy (overseas) must have unconditional offers of admission from any of the top 10 universities in the world, based on the list below.

“For other fields of study, students must have unconditional offers of admission from any of the top 50 universities in the world (as determined by the ministry),” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

There was hope among the public that finally race & religion will not be taken into account for consideration of JPA scholarship.

July 2014: 700+ Bursarian who obtained 9A+ in their SPM enrol in various colleges throughout Malaysia. Some even flew from East Malaysia to attend colleges in Peninsula.

September 2014: The condition for overseas scholarships were changed. The previous top 50 universities were changed to top 20 universities in the world as released by Times Higher Education. Students must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.75 or its equivalent in their pre-university studies.

July 2015: 700+ Bursarian begin their application to the top 20 universities in the world. Bursarian begin writing their personal statement, sitting for admission test, English proficiency test and etc. Teacher advisors also begin writing their reference on the student which will be submitted to the relevant universities.

September 2015: Bursarian begin their revision as the A-Level examination is approaching.

October-November 2015: Bursarian sit for their A-Level examination. Some receive offers from universities during this period.

December 2015: Some Bursarian undergo admission interview by relevant universities.

13 January 2016: Result of A-Level was released. Students who have received offers from Australian universities are required to accept their offer which require a Financial Affidavit from JPA showing they are sponsored student.

15 January 2016: Students updating their profile upon receiving results found out that the online update system by JPA was taken down without any announcement. Students who contacted JPA was told that JPA scholarship programme is suspended until further notice.

15-28 January 2016: Bursarian begin their online petition and campaign of #Educationispriority & #futureofMalaysia because deadline to accept the offer from Australian universities are within days.

28 January 2016: PM announce that the JPA scholarship for overseas programme is terminated and only local scholarship will be sponsored.


That’s basically what happens throughout the 20 days from suspension to termination. Most of us had spent the past 18 months working really hard to secure an offer from the top 20 only to be told that it was a #janjitidakditepati. Yes, there was no black & white but an unwritten promise that if we do our best then they will uphold their promise. Remember 'Lu tolong gua, gua tolong lu', meaning “If you help me, I help you?” So, be aware! If any political party promise anything, make sure to have it Black & White on paper because you never know. #janjitidakditepati may just decide to appear after the election! Remember 20 days vs 18 months if you do not want to end up 15 days of campaign period vs 5 years of rule!

Others argued that if we’re so capable and smart, we could well applied for other scholarship. But do note that within days some of our offer from these universities would expire. No agency or company can process a scholarship within days! Furthermore, some of the application for well-known scholarship is already closed.

A little bit about what I think about JPA scholarship. Yes, the overseas programme does sent students overseas but it is definitely not a brain-draining machine because part of the contract is that students must serve their bond after completion of studies. Some argued that most of them did not come back after completion, while I certainly agreed some did not, however, the fault lies in that there was no action taken on ensuring they uphold the contract, eg. Cancelling their passport. If we could have these students return and serve in our public administration, certainly our public service will be much better. Singapore has done remarkably well with their Public Service Commission Scholarship which sent students to the top universities in the world to further their studies and upon completion return to Singapore to serve in the public administration. In fact, most of their cabinet ministers are beneficiary of the scholarship programme. Maybe, that’s the secret why Singapore is doing so well as compared to Malaysia, just look at the exchange rate!

Life continues on and we Bursarian will just have to man-up/woman-up for now and look for opportunity elsewhere since our current administration did not keep their promise nor value talent. Unless our PM and his administration man-up and realise this mistake, it seems likely that brain drain will continue on, maybe just like our raw water, flowing silently across the causeway…..

***This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of DiscoverJB.

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