A RM4.5 million debt may just spell the end of the road for 150 medical science students in Egypt and they are literally being forced to beg now.
It is indeed shameful that these future professionals of our country cannot be helped and one wonders at the other wastages which are being made, while our future languishes in debt in another country.
Earlier this week, it was reported by Malay Mail Online that a representative of the Malaysia-Egypt Medical Science Students Association (Perubatan) had said that Malaysian students studying medicine, pharmacy and dentistry in eight universities in the Middle East country are struggling to pay their tuition fees which comes up to RM33,033 (US$8,000) annually.
“According to the Malay daily Berita Harian, the high-scoring students have accumulated a total debt pile of RM4.5 million in student loans.
“The issue of backdated fees payment has become more serious after the fall of the ringgit at the end of last year, it affected the exchange rates on the US Dollar and Pounds, which made the cost of fees higher.
“The cost of living in Egypt has doubled by 50 per cent in the past two years alone. The situation here has stressed us out especially those that have no scholarships or sponsorships,” Perubatan president Ikraam Abdul Latif was quoted saying.
He added that many students were now broke and forced to seek public funds to get by.
While the students are now crowdfunding and seeking public help, let us see who could have volunteered to pay off the RM4.5 million debts of these 150 students, who will be indebted to their saviours for life. One should bear in mind, a big chunk of the debt is their tuition fees.
1. The Higher Education Ministry – it was allocated RM14 billion this year. Does this case not deserve funds from the Higher Education Ministry?
2. Tugu Negara Park Project investors – the project launched by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak costs RM600 million. RM4.5 million is 0.75 percent of the whole cost, not even one percent.
3. Selangor State Government – Selangor’s estimated state revenue is RM2.05bil and its Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali had boasted of excess funds. It is now seen as one of the richest states in the country. Tens of millions have been allocated for education. RM4.5 million would be nothing much of a dent.
4. Prime Minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor has been applauded by her husband Najib again and again for having helped solve the Malaysian students in Egypt crisis when they were stranded due to the Arab uprising in 2013. Maybe Rosmah should step in again and see what she may be able to do for these students. Helping these students will probably enable her to win more prizes such as the Unesco Lead by Example award.
5. The richest men in Malaysia – there are many and all that are needed are 150 scholarships of RM30,000 each to solve the students’ problem. As it is, those on the Forbes’ Malaysia’s richest have billions and RM4.5 million would be pocket change for them.
6. Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin – who was able to successfully award cash prizes of paralympians of today and yesteryears – may be able to find some cash in his ministry for these 150 medical science students. After all, they are youths, although they are not directly in sports.
7. The 150 students could also be seek help from the states they hail from and their respective state governments could sponsor them.
There are many more possibilities of those who may be able to pay off the students’ RM4.5 million and it is sad to know that should no one come forward, all of them may have to drop their studies there and come home, where it is not sure what future awaits them without a degree.