Budget 2021: Key Highlights for University Students and Youths

Malaysia’s Budget 2021 saw a good number of initiatives to help university students and fresh graduates. Find out what are some of your perks in this article. 

Updated 20 May 2022

Budget 2021: Key Highlights for Students and Youths - Feature-Image

The Malaysia 2021 Budget that was tabled last week is one of the biggest budgets ever at RM322.5 billion, aimed at getting the economy back on track amidst the Covid-19 pandemic that has caused business disruptions and a shrinking economy.

In this article, we highlight some of the benefits and key incentives that the budget has allocated for university students and youths.

#1. Allocation for JPA scholarships drops to RM960 million

Malaysia Budget 2021-JPA

For what is possibly the first time ever, the budget saw the allocation for Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) scholarships drop to below RM1 billion. Standing at RM960 million, this is a 16% decrease compared to 2020.

This spells concern for SPM students who have already had to endure a disruptive academic year amidst school closures and postponement of the SPM exam, now delayed to 22 February 2021. As one of the most highly sought after scholarships by graduating SPM students, the JPA scholarships offers sponsorship programmes for both local and overseas universities.

#2. PTPTN holders can get loans to buy laptops

Malaysia Budget 2021-Laptop Loan Scheme

Nothing is more frustrating than having your laptop freeze during a Zoom lesson because it’s an inadequate antique. With online learning now becoming a norm, having a well-functioning computer that can support video conferencing and allow you smooth access to a variety of learning management systems is now more crucial than ever.

To assist with this, the government has allocated RM100 million for the BSN MyRinggit-i COMSIS Scheme, a laptop loan scheme that will allow PTPTN holders to take a loan to purchase new laptops. This move has been lauded by students as some are borrowing notebooks from friends and relying on computers provided on campus.

#3. Youths to get free RM50 for e-wallets

Malaysia Budget 2021-E-wallet

Cash is king but e-payments are catching up at breakneck speed. And for good reason — it’s secure, convenient and saves you money. Not only that, there’s also the fear that you may catch the coronavirus by touching cash and credit card terminals.

In a push to move towards a cashless society, all youths aged 18 to 20 years will be getting RM50 in credit in their e-wallet accounts. The initiative is expected to benefit over 1.5 million youths with an allocation of RM75 million.

#4. Single individuals earning RM2,500 and below will receive RM350 cash assistance

Malaysia Budget 2021-Single Individuals

As part of the government’s strategy to continue implementing cash assistance in a more targeted manner, the government is introducing the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) which replaces the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH).

In addition to providing cash assistance to families with low household income, single individuals aged 21 years and older who are earning RM2,500 and below will also receive assistance of RM350. This income category will certainly help fresh graduates who are still trying to find their footing in terms of salary and some university students as well.

#5. Fresh graduates will get RM3,000 vouchers to upskill themselves

Malaysia Budget 2021 V02-Fresh Graduates Upskill-02

Securing a job in the current economic climate may be challenging, especially if you are a recent graduate.

Recognising this, the government will be providing RM3,000 vouchers for fresh graduates to pursue professional certifications to upskill themselves. The programme, which allows you to take up courses at both public and private universities, is estimated to benefit 50,000 graduates.

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#6. More job opportunities in the public sector and at GLCs

Malaysia Budget 2021-Public Sector Job Opportunities

Securing a job in the current economic climate may be challenging, especially if you are a recent graduate.

Recognising this, the government will introduce a short-term employment programme called MySTEP with an allocation of RM700 million. This scheme will introduce 50,000 jobs on a contract basis in the public sector and at government-linked companies (GLCs) from January 2021.

Specifically, 35,000 jobs will be in the public sector with a priority for nurses, medical assistants, social welfare officers and temporary teachers. Meanwhile, 15,000 jobs will be at GLCs, focusing on technical and financial fields as well as opportunities for fresh graduates to participate in apprenticeship programmes.

#7. Strengthening TVET education

Malaysia Budget 2021-TVET Education

In an effort to boost Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) that’s crucial for both the labour market and the economy, the government has allocated a total of RM6 billion.

One of the key initiatives includes an allocation of RM300 million to the Skills Development Fund Corporation (PTPTK) to provide trainees with loans to pursue TVET programmes. Both public and private training institutions are eligible.

Additionally, the government will also increase the National Dual Training System allowance from RM650 to RM1,000. The National Dual Training System is an industry-oriented programme where TVET trainees are offered apprenticeships with participating companies while taking related theory classes at the same time.

#8. Boost for bumiputera education

Malaysia Budget 2021-Bumiputera Education

The budget saw a continued emphasis to provide quality education to bumiputeras.

Specifically, a total of RM6.5 billion will be allocated to institutions such as Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) to offer programmes such as digitalisation of TVET learning methods and upgrading from certificate level to a diploma.

So there you have it. What do you think of the 2021 Budget? Let us know in the comments below!

Looking for financial aid to fund your tertiary education? Check out these little-known financial aids.

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    Loh Sue May

    Loh Sue May

    Editor and writer. When I'm not busy putting words onto pages, I'm messing with spreadsheets and playing air guitar.