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Scholarships: Govt ‘at odds’ with itself

 | February 27, 2016

DAP's Yeo questions why Talent Corp puts scholars in private firms and PSD does not

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PETALING JAYA: A Selangor legislator has questioned an apparent double standard by two government agencies regarding government scholarships after the Public Service Department announced that scholarship offers this year will be convertible loans.

Yeo Bee Yin, assemblywoman for Damansara Utama, pointed out that the government’s Talent Corporation was helping government scholars to serve their bond with private companies instead of with the government as required under the terms of PSD scholarships.

She asked why the PSD makes it compulsory for government scholars to serve their bond in the public sector while at the same time Talent Corp helped scholars “escape” their bond by connecting them to jobs in government-linked companies and the private sector

“Why the double work? Why waste taxpayers money for Talent Corp to run STAR (Scholarship Talent Attraction and Retention programme) when what JPA can do is to allow the scholars to serve their bonds anywhere in Malaysia?,” she said in a statement today.

Last week the department announced that all scholarships offered beginning this year would be in the form of a convertible loan. All JPA scholars are bonded to working with the government on completion of their studies. They must pay back half the amount of the scholarship if they choose to work in government-linked-companies or the full amount if they choose to work in private companies.

Yeo noted that many scholars in the past had also been made to sign contracts that required them to work in the public sector.

However the recently announced “convertible loan” policy was unjustifiable and should be reviewed immediately, she said.

The terms of the “convertible loan” might lead to taxpayers’ money being used to reward under-performers, she said. A student with CGPA 2.8 who could not find employment in the private sector but could only wait for a public sector job would receive a full scholarship.

However, a highly competent student with CGPA 3.8 hired by a multi-national company after many rounds of competitive interviews would be required to repay the full scholarship amount.

Yeo urged the Public Service Department to use a performance-based qualification for deciding whether the scholarship must be repaid, and not one based on whether the scholars choose to work in the public sector, government-linked companies or the private sector, as long as the scholars were employed in in Malaysia.

“This policy that forces all the top brains to work for the government does not best serve our national economic agenda,” she said.

“The role of the private sector is equally if not more important than the public sector in driving the nation’s economy.”


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