Thursday, May 26, 2011

Talent Corp Should Take Over JPA Scholarships

Talent Corporation should take over the function of awarding Government scholarships given the total failure of Public Service Department to award scholarships in a fair and equitable manner after all these years

The Public Service Department (PSD) has proven itself to be a complete disaster in managing the award of government scholarships to the young and brightest Malaysians, particularly to those seeking the opportunity to pursue their education overseas. Over the past decades, it has never failed to attract controversy by failing to award scholarships in a fair and just manner resulting in hundreds of top students failing to secure the scholarships they deserve.

After last year's fiasco, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that there will be 20% of overseas scholarships will be awarded entirely based on merit. However, Najib's promise was made a complete mockery when top students with 10 or more A+ for their SPM failed to secure the overseas PSD scholarship, but were instead only local matriculation programmes.

In fact, the PSD defied the decisions of the Cabinet by creating completely new scholarship categories, such as the 'Open' scholarship as well as scholarships for diploma programmes to circumvent the directive of the Cabinet. The outcome is a circus where Barisan Nasional component parties such as the MCA, Gerakan and MIC becoming a public complaints bureau and the de facto channel for appeals from disappointed scholarship applicants.

In addition, the never-ending scholarship controversies have led to as well as further exacerbate the serious brain drain crisis facing the country. Students and families who are unjustly treated will be persuaded to leave the country to greener pastures who will not hesitate to poach our top talents. The worsening brain drain crisis will also lead to the failure to meet our high income nation goals under the New Economic Model and Economic Transformation Programme.

In the face of massive public uproar, Deputy Minister of Education, Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong who came under heavy fire, had openly blamed the little Napoleons in the PSD for openly defying Cabinet directives. His accusations were supported by various other Ministers, Deputy Ministers and BN component parties.

Despite the obvious need to take strong disciplinary actions against top PSD officials, based on past experiences, there will be little or no political will from the BN Ministers to take any action against them.

Therefore, to prevent future scholarship fiascos arising from the failure or sabotage by the PSD, we'd like to propose to the Cabinet to transfer the Government scholarship award role to the newly set up Talent Corporation.

The transfer of this critical role and responsibility will be particularly fitting given the crucial role of attracting and retaining talent in Malaysia. They will also be the most appropriate agency to manage the best and brightest talents of our future given their close links with the industry. With the single-minded objective of harnessing talent for the country, the Talent Corporation will stand a better chance in succeeding with honouring our best and brightest as opposed to the PSD whose role is complicated and confused, made worse by vested interest and little Napoleons.

We call upon all parties, not just those in Pakatan Rakyat, but also MCA, Gerakan and MIC who has verbally expressed their frustrations with the PSD. The proposal is made in the interest of all Malaysians and there should be bipartisanship in ensuring the annual scholarship circus will never see the light of day again.
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