Thursday, February 2, 2012

Students flock to outlets to use up RM200 government aid - The Star

Feb 2, 2012

BOOKSTORES at shopping malls in Ipoh were packed to the brim as students rushed to use their 1Malaysia RM200 book vouchers during the Chinese New Year break.

Most of them were buying books at the last minute, having waited for the book assistance to be issued by the Government.

The aid, which was announced in Budget 2012 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak last year, is aimed at helping students in institutions of higher learning and Form Six to purchase books.

Among those buying books for her course before the start of the semester was Open University Malaysia student M. Santha.

“I wanted to get my books today but the bookstore does not have them and it is so crowded here,” she told The Star when buying books at the Popular Bookstore at Kinta City Shopping Centre.

The 29-year-old Human Resources management student added that it was inconvenient having to find items to buy to make up for the amount of each voucher.

“They should have given us vouchers in smaller denominations of RM10 instead of RM50.

“We have to find items to buy to make up the RM50 or sacrifice the unused balance,” she said.

Santha’s coursemate Norul Hayani Mat Saad, 25, said they should be given leeway to buy other study materials besides books with the vouchers.

“Students’ expenses are not limited to books. There are so many other things that we need which are a financial burden. The Government should consider subsidising a part of our semester fees as it will greatly benefit everyone, especially parents who are paying for their children’s education,” Norul Hayani said, noting that it was a long-term solution.

Other students like Lau Kee Wah, 24, were seen buying storybooks instead of academic books with their book vouchers at the MPH Bookstore.

“I have no choice. The books I need for my course are not available in Ipoh,” said the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia computer science student, who is based in Skudai, Johor.

“Since there is nothing else for me to buy now, I spent one RM50 voucher on a storybook,” he said.

Lau, however, said he appreciated the Government’s efforts to help students like himself.

“I spend about RM500 on academic books each semester and as such the vouchers will help cover almost half the cost.

He, however, said the expiry date of the vouchers should not be March 31.

“The date should be extended to give us more time to carefully consider how to spend the vouchers wisely,” he said.

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