Friday, February 26, 2016

Not right to force top brains to work in public sector, says DAP rep

The government should not force all "top brains" to work for it as the move does not serve the national economic agenda best, says a DAP assemblyman. Calling for the Civil Service Department (JPA) to review its "convertible loan' policy, Damansara Utama rep Yeo Bee Yin said the private sector was just as important, if not more, in driving the economy. She said Malaysia needed to change its economy to one that was knowledge-intensive and innovation-led to move out from the middle-income trap, adding that it would be impossible with a major scholarship policy that "penalised" top brains and prevented them from getting involved in private sector and entrepreneurial ventures. "Under such system, we may force a talented JPA scholar, who has just done a ground-breaking research that can be commercialised through a highly potential start-up and may be able to pay back his or her loan through the business, to work for the government instead. "This is illogical. For Malaysia to be competitive internationally, we need to manage our talents better. "We call upon Putrajaya to review its JPA scholarship policy to ensure that Malaysian talents are given the opportunities to reach their full potential in order to best serve our country," she said in a statement today. Yeo was commenting on JPA's recent announcement that all loans offered from this year onwards would be convertible loans. Those who took the loans are mandated to work in public sector. JPA scholars who choose to work in government-linked-companies (GLCs) or the private sector will have to pay back 50% or 100% of the scholarship amount respectively. Yeo said the concept was not new, as many JPA scholars had signed contracts that compelled them to work in the public sector if they were offered a job within a period of time after their study, failing which, they would be required to pay back the scholarship amount. "It is mind-boggling to see that another government agency, Talent Corp, is doing the reverse," she said, referring to the Scholarship Talent Attraction and Retention (STAR) programme that helped government scholars to serve their scholarship bond with leading private sector companies as a way to contribute to the country. According to TalentCorp website, there are 1,681 STAR private or GLC employers. Yeo asked why there were two different policies for students taking government scholarships. "Why the double work? Why waste taxpayer monies for TalentCorp to run STAR when JPA can allow the scholars to serve their bonds anywhere in Malaysia?" She also said the terms and conditions of the "convertible loan" were unjustifiable, as they might lead to taxpayers' money being used to reward under performers. "Under such policy, a student with CGPA 2.8, who can't get a job in private sector but can only wait for public sector job, can get the scholarship for free. "A competent student with CGPA 3.8, who is hired by a multi-national company, will be forced to pay back the scholarship amount in full. "If the convertible loan is unavoidable, then the payback amount must be performance-based (academic and non-academic), and not based on which sphere the scholars choose to work in, whether the public sector, GLCs or private sector, as long as they are in Malaysia," she said. – February 27, 2016.]]>

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