The above is the published letter to the editors in The Star by one of our authors, Benjamin Yau on 30 May 2011, which is edited to suit the norm of the readers.

The original letter looks like this:

Dear editor,

The recent fiasco on Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships may end in another few days after the Prime Minister promise to probe into the issue, but this doesn’t mean that it can solve the same problem that have been recurring for years once and for all.

Whether the people in the PSD who are in charge to award the deserving applicants their scholarships are having double standards or otherwise, they would know best.

But what I would like to shine the light on is the number of applicants who apply for Overseas Degree Program Scholarships (PILN) that is greater than those who apply for Local Degree Program Scholarships (PIDN). When the results of the scholarships distribution are announced, many amongst the PILN applicants were disappointed and disheartened by the decision of getting a PIDN scholarship instead of the PILN scholarship they apply.

There are several good points about studying locally. But why were they sad?

The reason lies in the lack of confidence towards local universities. How are we going to convince the applicants that studying in local universities is as good as studying abroad, when the rankings of our local universities that indicates the reputation and competitiveness of the universities (Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia are ranked 207, 263 and 309 respectively by QS World University Rankings in 2010) are in such a deplorable and embarrassing state?

Therefore, there is a necessity to revamp and to improve the quality of the universities in order to be at least on par with other universities in the region (Universiti Malaya and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia are ranked 39 and 53 in the QS Asian University Rankings 2011) and attract scholars to opt for local universities when furthering their higher education.