Last week, Malaysia’s Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng tabled the much-anticipated 2019 Budget, where many braced themselves for belt-tightening initiatives, with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad going as far as describing it as Belanjawan Pengorbanan (“sacrificial budget”).
Themed “A Resurgent Malaysia, A Dynamic Economy, A Prosperous Society”, the budget saw the Ministry of Education receiving an allocation of RM60.2 billion (or 19.1% of the total budget), the largest recipient of the budget.
But how much of that will directly translate to you as a university student? Let’s find out.
#1. Scholarships to continue but with a 28% reduction
Good news for aspiring scholars!
The government will continue with its various sponsorship programmes and scholarship schemes with a total allocation of RM1.8 billion under the Public Service Department (JPA), Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Education (MOE). However, this is a 28% reduction compared to the 2018 Budget.
With a 33% reduction in allocation for JPA scholarships, you can expect stiff competition for scholarship spots in the coming year.
#2. Boost for bumiputera education through sponsorship programmes
The budget saw an uplift for bumiputera education, with substantial allocations for various scholarship programmes, including:
- RM2.1 billion in scholarships to the Program Penajaan Pendidikan MARA
- RM210 million to Yayasan Peneraju Pendidikan Bumiputera via Program Peneraju Tunas, Program Peneraju Skil (technical and vocational skills programmes) and Program Peneraju Profesional (professional certifications in finance and accounting)
- RM17.5 million over the next 5 years to the Malaysia Professional Accountancy Centre (MyPAC) to produce more qualified bumiputera accountants
#3. No more discounts for PTPTN borrowers
Bad news for PTPTN borrowers.
Unlike 2018 where we saw a slew of incentives for repaying PTPTN loans, it seems that these discounts will end on 31 December 2018. This is to ensure the sustainability of PTPTN and also to manage the country’s high debt burden.
At the same time, the current repayment exemption, where students who achieve First Class Honours are exempted from paying back their PTPTN loan, may be limited to B40 households.
To ensure the sustainability of PTPTN for future borrowers, the government will be introducing scheduled salary deductions ranging from 2% to 15% based on the borrower’s monthly income. This is only applicable for those earning above RM1,000 a month.
With PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan claiming that some errant borrowers were not repaying their loans because they had to pay for their car instalments, it’s no surprise that the government is taking a harder stance to ensure that PTPTN has the sufficient funds for future borrowers.
#4. Focus on vocational education and training
As part of the government’s initiative to elevate Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to a status that’s equivalent to traditional tertiary education, the government will introduce RM30 million to the TVET Prestige Fund. This fund will assist various training institutions to run programmes with the aim of securing job placements for graduates.
Additionally, there will also be an additional allocation of RM20 million to raise youth competency via a TVET-sponsored bootcamp.
At the same time, polytechnics and community colleges also received an allocation of RM206 million for the development of training programmes.
So there you have it. What do you think of the 2019 Budget? Let us know in the comments below!