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Published on: Thursday, May 06, 2010

Kota Kinabalu: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sabah is questioning the rationale for making SPM students pay RM20 each when applying on-line for Petronas scholarships, considering that the oil corporation “is filthy rich”.
As it is, each student has to fill the form electronically and then bank in RM20 to the so-called Petronas Creditors Account.

PKR Sabah Deputy Chairperson, Christina Liew said affected poor parents brought the matter to her attention and could not believe that the national oil corporation would stoop so low.

“Their children recently obtained their results in last year’s SPM examination and were applying for Petronas scholarships.

They had asked for money from their parents to bank in to Petronas.

“RM20 is a lot to low-income families vis-Æ-vis Petronas’ billions of profit from Sabah’s oil production.

Why squeeze the students when it is also a paperless process?

“Petronas should be ashamed of itself when even other scholarship providers, including Shell, don’t ask students to pay a sen when applying for scholarships.”

PKR felt that by right and in line with the Government’s desire to create a pool of future intellectual capital, Petronas should provide a free service to the public.

“Just imagine the amount of money made by Petronas if 10 to 15 per cent of the over 350,000 SPM students nationwide who obtained good results were to apply for its scholarships.

“On top of it, there is no guarantee that these applicants would get the scholarships,” Liew pointed out.

She also said Petronas has so far not been transparent in its dealings with Sabahans. “Sabahans demand to know how many from the State have been awarded scholarships so far and how many went to bumiputras and non-bumiputras.

“What is so secretive about Petronas scholarships unless there is lack of equity? Give us a breakdown for public knowledge.

After all, this is for education.

“Until today, Sabahans remain in the dark as to the number of scholarships offered by the corporation to Sabah boys and girls.”

Given Sabah’s “poorest state” tag despite being an oil-producing state, Liew contended that all the more Petronas should provide more scholarships to deserving students.

“But right now, we really don’t know the criteria for selection.

We won’t be surprised if there are cases of undeserving students receiving Petronas scholarships.”

To be fair to Sabah, she said the National Oil Corporation should consider allocating 50 per cent of its scholarships to Sabah students.

“What a pity that many rural girls are dropping out of school for want of financial support from farming parents when they (rural girls) complete PMR.”

source: daily express