Friday, May 27, 2011

Scholarship Merit?

Dato’ Seri Nazri Aziz should be rapped for failing Malaysian’s crème-de-la-crème while defending the Public Service Department’s little Napoleons

Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz attempted to protect the officers of the Public Service Department (PSD) despite their obvious failure to ensure that the country’s crème-de-la-crème are given JPA overseas scholarships as promised by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

Instead Nazri himself should be the person to apologise to all Malaysians for the Government’s failure to deliver on its policies because he is directly the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of the PSD.

The Minister now claims that the Government never promised the top SPM scorers overseas scholarships. Instead, he argued that the only thing which was promised to students who scored more than 8A+ in their SPM results was a full scholarship, with no guarantees that they will be sent overseas.

It is indeed true that Najib had made the announcement that all with SPM results better than 8A+ will be assured of a local or overseas scholarship. Nazri was however highly mischievous by leaving out the fact that both Najib and himself had also disclosed and clarified that the 20% of JPA overseas scholarships will be awarded based entirely on merit.

This means that out of 1,500 students who have been given overseas scholarships for this year, 300 should be awarded entirely based on merit. Under such circumstances, there should be no room at all for the fact that students with more than 10A+ failing to receive overseas scholarship awards for there are less than 300 students who have obtained such excellent results.

Based on information published so far, it is not the odd student or two who have been denied the scholarship, which can be attributable to genuine mistakes by the PSD. The number who has been denied under the merit scheme adds up to tens, if not hundreds of students. This can only happen if there was a systematic attempt by the PSD to deny these brilliant students their rightful entitlement as promised by the Government.

Therefore Nazri must be rapped not only for failing to perform his duties and responsibility as the Minister in-charge of the PSD and for the award of scholarships, he must be taken to task for trying to defend his officers by misleading the public with half-truths. His attempt to defend the indefensible makes a complete mockery of the Prime Minister’s slogan of “people first, performance now”.

The Government’s lack of urgent action to right all the wrongs in the award of scholarships after decades of controversy will only result in more Malaysians, particularly the best and brightest, losing confidence in Najib administration’s to retain talent, and reverse the brain drain that is bleeding the country’s economy.

This further strengthens our call for the function of scholarship award to be delegated to the Talent Corporation to give hope to Malaysians that all is not lost, and perhaps next year, we’ll indeed see the end of the annual scholarship circus we are now accustomed to.
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