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Students Tempted to Sell BB1M Book Vouchers for Cash

The Star Online:
While undergraduates know that selling their 1Malaysia Book Vouchers (BB1M) is wrong, the cash is just too tempting for many.

Those who admitted to the practice justified their actions with a variety of personal reasons.

A 22-year-old known only as Thomas said that money was more practical than book vouchers that most students do not really need.

“Many students are suffering from high living costs so selling the vouchers is a good option to temporarily manage their financial situation,” he said.

He said it was his fourth time selling the vouchers and he had no plans to use the money yet.

Classmates Chong, 22, and Lee, 20, said that they used the cash to cover their daily expenses.

“The money isn’t a lot but when you are on a student budget, a little can go a long way,” Chong said, adding that the RM200 she received for her vouchers was enough to pay for a month of meals in college.

Lee, who stays in a rented room near his college, said he preferred spending the money on food and other necessities than on textbooks that he would not need after the semester.

“I know it is illegal but since the intention of the vouchers is to help students, I think it should be acceptable that we are receiving the help in a different manner,” he said.

Amira, 23, said the money she received from selling her vouchers was used to fund her research as she did not want to burden her family.

“I didn’t know that doing research requires so much funding,” she said, adding that she used the money to pay for unexpected expenses like photocopy and printing fees.

Faiz, on the other hand, spends the money to fund his smoking habit.

As a student, he usually smokes contraband cigarettes but the money allowed him to buy premium brand cigarettes.

“If others can use the money to go shopping and buy stuff, why can’t I spend money on things that I like?” he asked.

The students were worried but generally not too concerned about the consequences.

Lynn, 19, admitted that it was a risky act.

“Since everyone is doing it, I think it should be safe,” she said, adding that it was her first time receiving the BB1M vouchers.