Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Story on JPA Scholarships

I have written many times - to the Press and in my blog - with regards to the JPA scholarships issue.

As far as I can see, politicians are merely mumbling away and none of them actually truly understand both the JPA scholarship standards as well as the actual scholarship holders background.

Time after time, MCA leaders are saying all sorts of things about the JPA Scholarships. But hardly anyone hit the facts right.

Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong's recently said that"Over 3,000 Chinese students have received the scholarships since 2001 and they will be serving in the public sector for 10 years" (Maintain overseas undergrad scholarships, says Wee - The Star)

If there were only 3000 Chinese JPA overseas scholars since 2001 and I believe the figures are up to 2009, it means that on average 333 Chinese are rewarded with a JPA Scholarship annually.

Out of the 3000 Chinese JPA overseas scholars, did Datuk Dr Wee clarify how many were actually called back to serve in the public sector ?

And please. Not all JPA scholars have a contractual bond of 10 years.
The figure vary from 4 to 10 years actually.

Perhaps MCA should skip any further announcements of figures based on races or matters with regarding the JPA Scholarship. It is not helping the Party at all.

Being a former JPA scholar myself, I have many stories to tell
. I can tell you a clearer picture than the politicians, though I am almost like one myself.

I do know many JPA scholars who don't want to be called up by the Government to work in the public sector as warranted by their contractual agreement.

Some either ignore the call up for public service entrance evaluations or some will just consider paying back the total costs of their scholarships. (Yes, many JPA scholarship holders are not affiliated to any political parties but are classified as rich)

This is because graduates working overseas like in US, UK and Australia can allow them to have savings of AT LEAST RM 3000 a month.

A fresh graduate in Malaysia will earn probably in the range of RM 2400-RM 4500. Savings can range from RM 500-RM 2000.

So we all know why even JPA students don't want to return home. They will beg, cry and accuse the Government if they are not given any scholarships that are worth about RM 350,000 to RM 1 million to study overseas.

But unknown to the taxpayers, not all JPA overseas students get called up to serve in the Government for various reasons which include the "excuses" above.

I do know also that there are many loopholes which allow JPA overseas students to make themselves not eligible for public service. These need to be patched up, I believe.

If I outline it all here, I will be in trouble with the Government but I will be more than willing to be contacted and to assist the Government to plug the loopholes once and for all.

The Prime Minister needs to know that all overseas scholars need to be summoned back to serve in the public sector or at least to work in Malaysia.

The JPA Overseas Scholarship have long been abused as a "brain drain machine" whereby our scholars are paid by the Government to study overseas but they end up working for foreign companies and countries.

I realise that many JPA Domestic Scholarship holders were called back to serve their bond as opposed to JPA Overseas Scholarship holders but priority must be given to those sponsored to study overseas.

The Government should not be spending so much money to send students overseas, only to allow them to go freely and instead choose to tap the knowledge of local sponsored students only.

The logic is not there.

Taxpayers deserve to know all these now. Do take this piece of article to be published elsewhere in the electronic media with due credits given to the author.

My previous articles on JPA scholarships :
  1. Brain drain solution
  2. JPA Scholarship - Rational Review
  3. PSD Scholarship & MCA

As for where MCA should fit in, Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong should form a committee or taskforce to look into education appeals. A permanent bureau needs to be established with sub committees based on specific cases and to assist the appellants to find alternatives.


Bondi man said...

Spot on ....

katdog said...

The government can choose to discontinue JPA loans, but that ONLY solves the problem of the government budget deficit. It is not going to do ANYTHING to address the issue brain drain.

Where there's a will, there's always a way.

Sure, stop giving out JPA scholarships. Here's what will happen:
- Bright students will apply independently for scholarships from foreign uni's. Without hope of JPA scholarships, students will be forced to turn to this avenue. (and honestly a bright student would understand that his/her talent would be wasted spent at a low class local university). Getting a degree via a foreign scholarship is going to be even MORE incentive for the student NOT to return home to Malaysia.

- Other students will get to local universities. Graduate. Work a few years. Then they'll migrate to other countries that offer better salaries and better quality of life. Just go and see how many Malaysians work in Singapore today. Do you think they went to work in Singapore because they got JPA or ASEAN scholarship? Many worked in Malaysia, and then decided it was more beneficial to move to Singapore or other countries.

So remove JPA scholarships to help reduce the deficit. But the brain drain will continue unabated. Heck, it might even accelerate the brain drain as students are forced even more to hunt for foreign scholarships as local opportunities dwindle.

If BN-UMNO continues to remain unwilling to understand the true root cause of the country's brain drain, it will never be able to truly fix the problem

katdog said...

P.S. I need add that you appear to mistaken in your numbers on the fresh graduate salary in Malaysia.

RM2400 - RM4500?!

Here is a link to a guide on the salaries in Malaysia

Just look up the salaries for degree level with 1-2 years experience.

The salaries range from RM1500-RM3500.

So most fresh graduates in Malaysia actually have NO SAVINGS to RM 1000 at best. How many of us feel our future secure working in a country with salary levels such as these?