Malaysia cuts education budget, but Indonesia, Philippines spend more

Development expert says education is key to a nation’s progress and it is unwise for Malaysia to slash spending on education, including to universities.

Robin Augustin, Free Malaysia Today

An international expert in socio-economic development in Southeast Asia says Malaysia shouldn’t be cutting down on the budget for education, especially since neighbouring countries are pumping more resources into education.

Speaking to FMT, Prof Patrick Ziegenhain, a visiting professor at Universiti Malaya’s (UM) Asia-Europe Institute, noted that Indonesia and Philippines had recently put greater emphasis on education.

“In Indonesia, they are increasing the budgets for universities. In fact, the funding for education in Indonesia is better than ever before.

“This is why you can see the works of more Indonesian academicians being published in reputable journals.

“The Indonesian government is giving financial incentives to local scholars for international publications,” Ziegenhain, from Germany, said.

According to a 2015 article on Indonesian news site,, the financial incentive is Rp100 million (RM32,900).

He said in recent years, Indonesian universities had started catching up with Malaysian universities.

Ziegenhain noted that Indonesia’s education push included the Indonesia Smart Card (KIP), expected to benefit some 17.9 million students from poor families, and orphans.

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