SHAH ALAM, 17 Nov: Penang state government has decided to increase their ‘Bantuan Biasiswa Kecil’ (loosely translated as Minor Scholarship Assistance) by RM120 per year allocated to needy students in secondary schools to help fund their studies.
The raise will increase the assistance from RM480 to RM600 per year for Form 1 to 3 and RM720 to RM840 for Form 4 and 5.
Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng explained in his media statement that the increase was to help poor students buy work books and reference books for educational purposes as well as to help with the cost of daily necessities that has been on the rise from year to year.
He further explained that this will increase the annual Penang Government spending to RM 2 million for 2013.
“To ensure the sustainable purchasing power of poor students, the State Government has decided to increase it by RM120 per year or rather a 17% to 25% increase. Scholarships given to poor students in secondary schools (in Penang) are the highest among all the states in Malaysia.”
“The Pakatan Rakyat(PR) administration is only able to raise the scholarship because we have a surplus in our State Budget every year since 2008. We have successfully obtained this budget surplus despite the increase in spending by 55% under PR compared to the old government.”
“This stops all allegations made by certain parties saying that the budget surplus has been achieved only because the State Government has cut down on spending,” he said.
It is estimated that a total of 2,567 students from 123 schools in Penang will benefit from the increase in the Bantuan Biasiswa Kecil. The bulk of the students are Malay students.
The selection process is done through an online computer system by the Ministry of Education based on merit, family finances and co-curricular activities.
Penang Education Office will then recommend a list of students who are eligible for this assistance to be approved by the State Government.
Any family in Penang whose child’s name has been dropped out of the list can contact the closest District Office or PR assemblymen to assess the situation.