Once again, the Malaysian public is serenaded with fancy promises by the Federal Government, only to be brought down again by incompetency in policy implementation. The Federal Government’s promise of a meritocratic award of JPA scholarships to every single student that achieves 8A+s and above is now overshadowed by the bungling ineptitude of the delivery system.
Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong blamed Public Service Department(PSD) officials for failing to follow Cabinet criteria in selecting scholarship recipients. As a result, many qualified applicants failed to obtain grants while those who students who performed worse were given scholarships instead.
Wee also added that there were a number of instances where straight A+ students had been denied scholarships and instead were only offered placements in matriculation programmes with loans. Meanwhile, students who obtained 4+s were awarded scholarships to the United States.
This gross blunder is totally unacceptable and should be rejected by all Malaysians. What’s worse, the solution offered by Deputy Minister Wee Ka Siong has only compounded the problem and highlighted the severe lack of empathy within the walls of Putrajaya. He has suggested that students should accept whatever they are given first, and then submit an appeal to the JPA for review.
Why should the people who have not done any wrong be the ones who have to appeal? This is not only ridiculous but a gross injustice that top students who have done no wrong, must appeal to fumbling and incompetent PSD officials to be awarded scholarships. Should not responsibility be placed upon the JPA to correct their errors? This is a case of punishing the victim instead of the perpetrator. If the Federal Government thinks they can sweep this issue under the carpet, they are wrong.
This is exactly the kind of issue that has contributed to the growing national brain drain problem. How are young Malaysians supposed to believe that they live in a fair and just society when such straightforward matters cannot be conducted in a transparent and proper manner? It appears that instead of attempting to win the hearts and minds of talented young Malaysians, the Federal Government is intent on victimising and ostracising them. Blame should be squarely placed upon the shoulders of the Federal Government if this scandal leads to even more bleeding of talent.
We demand that a full investigation is carried out, and that those students with deserving results be immediately given scholarships without the need for them to demean themselves by appealing when it is not their mistake in the first place. Further JPA officials responsible should be punished as an example to other incompetent officials of zero tolerance for those who fail to practice competency, accountability and transparency.
Clearly the Federal government should go back to basics in employing competent government officials. 3 aspects are important for professional service. One, a good or effective system in place. Two a positive work ethic and attitude. Thirdly, inculcating a team spirit. How can the Economic Transformation Programme(ETP) efforts to attract and retain human talent work when the Federal government officials can not even get it right the simple job of offering scholarships to the best students and instead awarding it to the worst?
Press Statement By DAP Secretary-General And MP For Bagan Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur On 20 May 2011.
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