Base scholarships on merit

THE president of Persatuan Pesara Pegawai Perkhidmatan Pendidikan Malaysia recently said at a convention that federal scholarships should be given solely to bumiputra students.

University of Malaya Association of New Youth (Umany) strongly believes that the distribution of the federal scholarships should be based on the principle of justice, equality, and meritocracy.

Article 153 (1) in the Federal Constitution has no application in this context.

The provisions also contradict the values under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights where Article 1 states that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."

Moreover, Article 8 of the Federal Constitution stresses on the same principle of equality where "All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law."

Umany strongly believes that meritocracy should be the basis for government scholarships in order to provide a fair chance for all citizens.

The scholarships shall not exclude or discriminate any individual based on the categories of race, socio-economic class, gender, religion, sexuality, political views and physical attributes.

Therefore, only an equal and fair opportunity can provide the best and the brightest to flourish their full potential.

Besides, the distribution based on merit does not necessarily hinder the opportunity of the Malays, it promotes equal opportunity and competition that can bring effectiveness and productivity to the development of the country and betterment of the society.

Once again, Umany would like to stress that all human beings are born equal in dignity and rights, thus every citizen shall be entitled to the equal opportunity from the distribution of federal scholarships.

We strongly condemn the statement made at the convention that defies the principles of justice and equality and urge the speaker to retract his remark on federal scholarships.

University of Malaya Association of New Youth