The government is banking on this two programmes to lure talents into the public sector and retain them for the private sector here.
The two programmes – the Talent Acceleration in Public Service (TAPS) and the Scholarship Talent Attraction and Retention (STAR) – were meant to lure talents into the public service sector which was often perceived by career prospectors as unattractive.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had made retention programmes for excellent students one of the key goals of his government but so far failed as local talents, even those under the Public Service Scholarship, continued to opt for the private sector which offered better remuneration and incentives.
Due to relatively low salaries in the domestic private sector, bright students, alongside other socio-political factors, find it hard to resist the higher salaries offered by foreign companies.
Recently, a World Bank senior economist said the number of skilled Malaysians living abroad tripled for the last two decades with two out of every 10 Malaysians with tertiary education opting to leave for either Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries or Singapore.
He also said Malaysian migration was that of skills migration. About one-third of the one million-strong Malaysian diaspora overseas now consisted of those with tertiary education.
Leaders of tomorrow
Najib in his speech at the launch of TAPS and STAR today indicated that the braindrain crisis remain widespread and hoped the two initiatives would help get talents into the public service or retain them for the local private sector.
“As the nation’s best and brightest, much is expected of you, as Public Service Department (PSD) scholars,” he told some 50 PSD scholars here.
“As the youth of today, you represent the potential leaders of tomorrow. I firmly believe that Malaysians who have been given the privilege and opportunity of a good education have the added collective responsibility to act for the benefit of others,” he said.
TAPS was a collaborative initiative led by the PSD with the Razak School of Government (RSOG) and Talent Corporation Malaysia Bhd (TalentCorp).
Under this programme, top PSD scholars would be assigned to senior civil servants who would be their mentors and work on high-priority public policy issues and projects.
The group, he said, would attend training at RSOG and be initially appointed on a two-year contract, following which high performers would be fast-tracked into the civil service.
The pilot batch would involve 40 scholars from the world’s best universities and would commence in October this year and be rolled out in stages to subsequently include PSD graduates from other institutions of higher learning in Malaysia and abroad.
Other scholars not selected for the public sector would participate in STAR, which was an initiative between PSD and TalentCorp to enable PSD scholars to serve their bonds by working in leading companies as part of the effort to drive the Economic Transformation Plan (ETP) as well as the Government Transformation Plan (GTP).
“TalentCorp will facilitate the engagement between the PSD scholars and employers. To the scholars sitting here, by working with the government and companies in the National Key Economic Areas, you are in effect advancing the GTP and the ETP,” he said.
Najib said he believes Malaysia would be able to optimise its talents by ensuring its top students were retained and nurtured to be inserted into priority areas of the economy.
He added that STAR to date had attracted more than 50 participating organisations including Bank Negara Malaysia, Khazanah Nasional, Intel, Shell Malaysia, Maxis, PwC, CIMB Bank and Teach for Malaysia.