KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — The federal government has saved about RM240 million after slashing 744 overseas scholarships in Budget 2016, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said today.
In her written parliamentary reply, Azalina said the government spends between RM38,115 and RM277,515 a year on a Public Service Department (PSD) scholar studying abroad.
In comparison, she said PSD scholars in local universities cost between RM 10,350 and RM12,690 per person a year.
She added that currently the government was sponsoring over 7,736 students overseas.
The Pengerang MP was responding to a question from DAP’s Seputeh MP Teresa Kok who wanted to know how much Putrajaya has saved from slashing the scholarships in this year’s Budget.
When announcing a Budget revision in January, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government will continue four PSD scholarship programmes this year as scheduled but with cuts to four programmes.
Among them, the PSD’s National Scholarship Programme this year will be open only to the top 20 SPM graduates to study locally or overseas compared to 50 places last year.
In addition, PSD’s engineering programme to Japan, Korea, Germany and France will be open to 200 students, down from 300 last year.
PSD’s bursary programme would be offered to 744 students only for local undergraduate studies, a reduction from 1,000 bursaries last year that had been open for study at foreign institutions.
The PSD’s First Degree Programme for 8,000 students this year also showed a cut as it had been offered to 10,050 students in 2015 to pursue their first degree locally.