Budget 2008 : Higher Cola a ‘Merdeka gift for students’

Higher Cola a ‘Merdeka gift for students’

THE 10,000-strong United Kingdom & Eire Council for Malaysian Students (Ukec) says the increase in the Cost of Living Allowance (Cola) by up to 97% is the best Merdeka gift, reports CHOI TUCK WO from London.

“When Cola went up for students studying in Australia, New Zealand, Egypt and South Korea last year, the students here in the UK were disappointed that they had been left out,” said Ukec deputy chairman Tengku Iedildzuhrie Putra Tengku Alaudin.

The medical student from Queen Mary University said the increase of up to 97% would spur the students to study harder. He said many students, especially those in London, were left with only £50 (RM350) to £70 (RM490) at the end of the month after paying for rent, transport and food.

“Many students avoid living in London due to the high costs,” he said, adding that they spend up to an hour or more daily commuting between their rented homes outside the city and their universities in central London.

Malaysian High Commissioner to Britain Datuk Abdul Aziz Mohamed said the increase was timely, especially as London has become the world’s second most expensive city after Moscow.

Malaysian Students Department director Ahmad Nazri Sulaiman said many of the 11,400 students in Britain studied in Nottingham, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Scotland, and most of them are sponsored by the Public Service Department, Petronas, Mara and Permodalan Nasional Berhad.

The present monthly Cola is £497 (RM3,479) for those in London and £432 (RM3,024) for those outside London.

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