By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Jan 22: A total of 4,826 students have benefited from the Bakun Charitable Trust Fund since its inception in 1997, revealed its chairman Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.
He elaborated that all those who benefitted were eligible based on the criteria set up by the Bakun Charitable Trust Fund committee.
“So, it’s wrong to say that we reject applicants outright. In fact, since we started in 1997, a total of 4,826 students who have pursued their studies from certificate to degree levels have benefited from the Bakun Charitable Trust Fund,” Masing told DayakDaiy at his residence here today.
He was rebutting some individuals who questioned the sincerity of the trust fund to assist needy students.
“The committee has managed the fund prudently to ensure that it does not deplete. And of course, to be eligible for the education fund, both parents or either the father or mother of the applicant must be from Belaga District.
“Secondly, the applicant must be accepted to pursue his or her studies from a recognised public institution of higher learning in the country. It does not include private institutions,” he clarified.
Masing, who is also a Deputy Chief Minister, also explained that the trust fund would only provide initial funding for students to further their studies. After that, these students have to apply for loans from the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) to complete their studies.
“We actually provided for a full scholarship in the initial stage, but we decided to stop it because it’s too costly for us to provide a full scholarship for a period, say, for instance, a four-year course for a first degree,” he stressed.
Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president revealed that the initial Bakun Charitable Trust Fund was RM15 million, where RM5 million was from the state government, RM5 million from the federal government and RM5 million was supposed to be from Ekran Berhad as it was the contractor of Bakun hydroelectric power Dam. However, Ekran did not honour its pledge, and the federal government came to the rescue. — DayakDaily