PETALING JAYA: A lecturer from the Institute of Public Administration (Intan) may have offered some insight into why 52 out of 86 people pursuing a postgraduate diploma at the institution were axed from the programme last week.
The senior lecturer told a convention for administrative and diplomatic officers (PTD) in October that the students were not fit for the role or to sit for a postgraduate diploma in a public administration programme due to their poor “sahsiah” or personality.
The PTD position is coveted by many as it allows a person to hold top posts in the civil service.
The group of 86 students were shortlisted from 3,000 applicants who were already part of the civil service and considered to be the cream of the crop.
However, in an audio recording of the lecturer’s comments obtained by FMT, the lecturer told the Public Service Department (PSD) that many in the group were not fit to be high-ranking PTD officers.
Candidates are usually put through a series of tests before being approved to join the PTD service, but the latest cohort of 86 had been exempted from the military training component in an effort to fast-track their progress.
Speaking at the convention on Oct 11, where PTD officers were given a chance to air their grouses, the lecturer said this particular group of students “lacked the DNA or spirit of a PTD officer”.
“Please check if we need to continue with this course, or worse yet, let’s do a post-mortem later to see if it is worth carrying on,” she said to thunderous applause from the crowd.
The lecturer also listed some of the complaints from lecturers at Intan over the latest group of postgraduate students. Chief among them was the students’ tendency to “challenge” the lecturers’ authority.
She said one of the students had questioned the lecturers’ academic qualifications and how long they took to complete their studies.
She also said the group was arrogant and snobbish, which was unbefitting those about to become PTD officers.
“Have you ever asked your school teacher (about their qualifications) that way? Thankfully, the student posed those questions to a colleague. If it was me, I would have screamed at them.
“My patience has been tested by this special class of 86 people.
“I think this is the greatest test for me, beating even working with Tun Daim (Zainuddin) and the fierce Tan Sri Sidek (Hassan). This is the greatest test of my patience,” she said.
Daim, a former finance minister, is now top adviser to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Sidek is former chief secretary to the government and former Petronas chairman.
Checks by FMT showed the lecturer in question is a senior research fellow at Intan and has spent 22 years in the civil service. She is also an expert in corporate finance, security analysis and good governance.
She is also the author of three books and had received the Excellent Service Award from the government twice over the past 10 years.
The lecturer, when contacted by FMT, said she was “in no position to comment on anything” and asked that the matter be referred to “the management”.
The 52 axed students had been pursuing a postgraduate diploma in public administration at Intan in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, since April.
They were scheduled to graduate on Feb 7 next year and had already covered 80% of the course, with only three modules left to go.
They said they had received letters on Nov 30 claiming they failed to meet the passing grade in the personality (“sahsiah”) component for commitment and discipline.
They claimed Intan pushed the passing grade for the component from B to A-, just a few days before they were told to leave.
FMT has contacted Intan and the PSD for comment but has yet to receive a response.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday that the government would investigate why the 52 were axed from the programme.