Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has vowed to take to Parliament the cause of the students denied their Public Service Department (JPA) scholarships because of government spending cuts.
"Education is the government's primary responsibility. I cannot accept the continuous cutting of education expenditure like this. I will fight this in Parliament," Nurul Izzah tweeted today.
This was part of a series of tweets the PKR vice-president has sent out on the reported suspension of JPA scholarships and Education Ministry bursary financing to top performing students.
"The 700 students affected are our future. The country needs them. Return the JPA scholarships to the students immediately, Najib (Abdul) Razak!" she continued, tagging the prime minister in another tweet.
Nurul Izzah said that cutting educational expenditures when facing financial problems caused by failures in management is "an irresponsible act", and urged the government to restore the scholarships and financial aid.
She pointed out that the amount of money required to pay for the education of the 700 or so students - whose ability to further their education are being affected by the cuts - is not that much if compared with what is being wasted elsewhere.
"If RM500,000 is needed for (each of the) 700 students, it’s only RM350 million. It is not much compared to government leakages. Return the funds. Where is the RM4 billion?" she tweeted further.
Her mention of the RM4 billion hinted at new allegations that more money has flowed into the PM's personal accounts than the RM2.6 billion that Najib previously admitted.
However, this has no direct bearing on the matter at hand.
Country needs more intellectuals
Nurul Izzah stated that the country needed more thinkers and intellectuals, who can be groomed from the bright students who were supposed to be sponsored by the bursary.
"Return the funds to JPA, (and) to them (the students) immediately!" she tweeted.
Yesterday, Sin Chew Daily reported Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Wee Ka Siong confirming the slash in JPA scholarships, after raising the issue at the cabinet meeting yesterday following complaints he received from students.
Wee (photo) said he had asked the Najib to rethink and reinstate the scholarships, and that the PM had ordered the JPA and the chief secretary to the government to come up with an alternative to forgoing this year's disbursements.
The government decision has alarmed students due to receive JPA scholarships - many of whom will start their freshman year next month - as well as garnered brickbats from students, parents and netizens alike.
Faced with shrinking revenue with the Brent crude oil price having fallen to a 12-year low yesterday at US$27.78 a barrel, almost a quarter of what it was when oil prices reached a high of US$114.81 a barrel in 2014, the government has been struggling to balance its spending.
Najib has also announced that the Budget 2016 would be revised to adjust for falling revenue and see government expenditures optimised. The budget revision is due to be announced on Jan 28.