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31-05-2010 06:55

Don't cut subsidies for students, says deputy minister

TEMERLOH: The Government has been urged to continue with subsidies under the Higher Education Ministry’s education programmes for students from poor families.

Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the ministry provided education subsidies which most parents relied on to send their children for higher studies.

He said many students would not be able to pursue higher studies if the facility was to be withdrawn.

“Many parents in the rural areas whose children study at public institutions of higher learning rely on government aid and loans,” he told reporters after closing a Moh Desa Perwira programme at the National Defence University in Kampung Bangau Parit near here yesterday.

He said the loans provided by the National Higher Education Fund Corporation had helped ease the parents’ burden.

“As such, it would not be right for the Government to reduce or withdraw the education subsidy.”

In Petaling Jaya, National Union of Bank Employees secretary-general J. Solomon said NUBE was not in favour of a gradual reduction in subsidies unless initiatives to turn the country towards a high-income economy had been achieved.

“Currently, NUBE is unable to give its support as the 30,000 workers in the banking sector are lowly paid with increasing debts even though the profits of the banks in the last 10 years are very evident,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said the New Economic Model, which was geared towards a high-income economy, was a move in the right direction and Malaysians were awaiting the Government’s initiatives in achieving this.

He pointed out that the depression of wages in the country for the last 30 years had further widened the gap between the rich and the poor and caused uneven distribution of wealth.

Consequently, he said the middle- and lower-income group compromised on health, education and quality of life. He said these problems would eventually result in social ills.

“The intended abolition of subsidies will actually impose a financial catastrophe on millions of Malaysian workers,” he said.

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