Is Mendaki TTFS fully funded by Govt?
TTFS question in Parliament
In response to my article “Give more funds to Mendaki”, (Jul 20), there is a posting on facebook – Mohamed Fairoz: I note that TOC’s article was in response to newspaper reports which were pubslished in late June. This matter had been brought up in Parliament by MP Faisal (Aljunied) on 10 July, who had asked Minister Yaacob Ibrahim on how the funding for TTFS is granted. Minister Yaacob has assured the Parliament that, and I quote, “there will be sufficient TTFS funding for eligible Malay students in IHLs” as iit is granted “based on the total enrolment of Malay students in the institutes of higher learning (IHLs) and prevailing fees.”
Refer to the Hansard below (Link) for the full version of the statement.
Singapore Parliament Reports
“Funds for Mendaki’s Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy Scheme
Mr Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap asked the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts & Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs (a) what is the amount of funds that are granted to Mendaki for the Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy (TTFS) scheme each year since 2001; (b) what are Mendaki’s plans to ensure the financial sustainability of funding for the Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy (TTFS) for Muslim students; and (c) in the event of a deficit, what are Mendaki’s plans to ensure that the welfare of our students are met.
The Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs (Assoc Prof Dr Yaacob Ibrahim): Sir, the Government provides an annual grant for TTFS, which is disbursed by Yayasan Mendaki to eligible students. The grant is calculated based on the total enrolment of Malay students in the institutes of higher learning (IHLs) and prevailing fees. Therefore, there will be sufficient TTFS funding for eligible Malay students in IHLs. No deserving Malay student will be denied a tertiary education because of financial difficulties.
The amount of TTFS grant provided by the Government has increased from $35 million in 2001 to $47 million in 2012. The amounts are reflected in Mendaki’s annual reports. Undisbursed funds from TTFS are channelled to Mendaki’s Education Development Fund (EDF), which currently has $72.6 million in its reserves. The EDF is used for educational assistance schemes and other educational programmes run by Mendaki.”
TTFS funded by Government, but may need to dip into reserves?
I am somwhat puzzled by the Minister’s reply: “Sir, the revised eligibility criteria which have taken effect this year will not affect Mendaki’s financial provision for TTFS. This is due to how the Government grant is computed each year. In fact, the revised criteria means that more Malay students are now eligible compared to the past.” – It seems to be somewhat self-contradictory because if the funding comes from the Government and ‘will not affect Mendaki’s financial provision for TTFS’, why did the Minister say to the media in June, just about three weeks before his reply in Parliament, that some social and education programmes may have to be cut and that Mendaki may have to dip into it’s reserves?
Could it be that the Minister after all these years, was not aware that the TTFS was fully funded by the Government, and only knew after checking and preparing for his reply to this question in Parliament?
Or could it be that the TTFS was and is not 100 per cent funded by the Government? The Minister’s reply seems to imply that it is fully funded by the Government.
Has the TTFS been fully funded by the Government since its inception until now?
If this is indeed the case, then was the Minister mistaken or confused when he told the media that Mendaki may have to dip into its reserves or raise new sources of revenue?
As to “Previously, only Malay students from a family with a monthly household income of $3,000 and below qualify. With the introduction of the per capita income in the new criteria, Malay students in a typical four-member household with a monthly income of $6,000 and below would now qualify. Mendaki expects about 7,000 new and existing students to apply for TTFS this year.”, I understand the income eligibility criteria has not changed for about a decade or so until now, despite rising university tuition fees, cost of living and university education expenses. So, to what extent may this have contributed to the statistic that only 6.8% of Malay-Muslims had a university degree in 2010, compared to 28.3% across all races?
Leong Sze Hian