Wednesday, May 03, 2017

JPA Scholarship and Political Activities

I was a PSD Scholar from 2004-2008. In my 4.5 years as a PSD Scholar, I was opinionated and at times vocal against my sponsor, the Government of Malaysia.

At a free speech corner in UiTM (pre-U), I had strong opinions on the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, touching on the powers of the Minister and press freedom.

When I moved on to the Australian National University, that was the time when the war between Pak Lah and Dr M peaked. I too was critical of the Government. I participated in discussions and forums with visiting VIPs and officers from the Government of Malaysia, and gave my opinion.

My criticisms against the Government and leaders were even published on my blog.

Never once was I given any letter of warning, reprimanded or financially punished by my sponsor - the Government of Malaysia.

In fact, upon graduation, I was called up to serve as an Administrative and Diplomatic Officer (PTD), and after a few months I moved on to serve in the Prime Minister's Department under PEMANDU.


The Government has never stopped students from debates or expressing their opinion, or political beliefs, even during the days when AUKU (Universities and University Colleges Act) was enforced.

But as students, one must never forget that the focus is on obtaining a degree and not let emotions or obsession with politics divert that attention.

The Government spends hundreds of thousands on a student, and if time is spent on politics and emotional criticisms against your sponsor, wouldn't that be a far bigger betrayal of trust and public monies?

The Government has also never stopped the civil service from criticising proposals or providing alternative views.

But it has to be done in a professional manner, just like any organization or Government globally, including the private sector.

On many occasions, I expressed my strong opinions and criticisms in discussions with Ministers and heads of Ministries and Departments, some were heated ones.

And we continued for years like this because our intentions and objectives were aligned and clear - we want the best.

Never once was I told to tender my resignation, or was I ever suspended.

Always be constructive, not destructive.

Malaysia is not the only education sponsor with rules governing students when it comes to politics or dissent.

I have here with me some images of scholarship conditions from other institutions.

Look at the Korean Government scholarship, there's even a pledge against political activities. Look at the Indonesian Ministry of Education scholarship, the Chevening scholarship and lots more out there.

Some may argue that these are open to foreign students, but the essence remains the same.

No foundation, educational institution, or organization in this world will tolerate or encourage scholarship recipients to criticise their sponsors, or spend much time on political activities.

But they are open to debates and opinions on matters related to them, similar to the Government of Malaysia.

So today, I know this will draw criticisms from friends and readers, but I choose to stand alongside the PSD Director General, and I support him and the Public Service Department.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Malaysia's new Auditor General

The Opposition is going all out to discredit Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad, our new Auditor General, just because she isn't from the auditing world and her husband is an UMNO man.

How many of you know Mr Willie Tan? He is Singapore's Auditor General.

He graduated from Cambridge University in UK with a BA (Hon)(Engineering) and MA (Engineering) Degree. He also holds a MSc (Industrial Engineering) Degree from the National University of Singapore.

Yeah, and before he became Auditor General, he served in Singapore's Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Health, the Public Service Division in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of National Development.

Do you know this man Mr Harry Azhar Azis? He is Indonesia's Auditor General, a former politician.

His background was purely economics. He has a degree in Industrial Management, got his Master of Arts in Public Economic Policy from Oregon (USA), and his PhD too was in Economics from Oklahoma.

Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad has been in civil service for 35 years. As Auditor General, she will be in a management role and she will be supported by a battalion of highly qualified auditors, guided by international standards.

I can tell you that she did not depend on her husband to climb the ranks and to achieve what she has today.

I can also tell you that there are some Secretary-General and Directors of Federal agencies who are not politically aligned with Barisan Nasional, some openly.

I won't name them. I am sure Chief Secretary Tan Sri Ali Hamsa knows who they are but these people remained in their positions, some in fact got promoted. Why?

Politicians come and go, and power changes hands. Look at the Opposition states that were once under Barisan Nasional, and look at UMNO that saw leaders come and go.

But civil servants stay on because that is their bread and butter, they have a job to do and their loyalty is to the King and country.

Never attempt to mock the civil service.

Yes, I guess only Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Kit Siang are qualified people to do all sorts. Trust them to talk about our economy going bankrupt. Eh, they have degree or work experience in economics and finance?

And I wonder if DAP Treasurer Fong Kui Lun and DAP Penang Treasurer Danny Law have experience in finance and accounting. Tak takut kena tipu ke?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Amusing comments on Malaysiakini site

I find the comments in Malaysiakini here on Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia extremely hilarious. They use pseudonyms by the way.


  • A total of 8.27 million households out of 30 million population allegedly earn below RM3,000. 
  • To have millions entitled to BR1M shows the absolute failure in gov’t policies.

First of all, 8 million applicants are not the same as 8 million recipients.

The entire 30 million population, regardless if you are a billionaire or a specialist doctor or a sales assistant can attempt and apply for BR1M, but approvals will only be given based on a fixed set of criteria by the Government.

Not all applicants earn below RM3,000.

A multi agency team goes thru every single application.

And just to give you some insights, the Finance Ministry does not only look at your income statements.

They also check you, your spouse and dependents' assets like vehicle ownership. For example, if you declare your income as RM2,000 but you drive a Toyota Camry, sorry lah, the Government knows and you are not getting any BR1M.

So, what about the higher number of recipients?

In 2012, there were 4.1 million recipients.

Under BR1M 2017, to date, there are 5.15 million applications that have been approved while 3 million more applications are being processed (not approved yet).

When we first started BR1M in 2012, it was only given to a SINGLE category - households with income of RM3,000 and below.

Under BR1M 2017, the net has widened since 2012.

  • OLD: households with income of RM3,000 and below get RM1,200
  • NEW: households with income between RM3,001 to RM4,000 get RM900
  • NEW: Youths with income of RM2,000 and below gets RM450.

This explains the higher number.

If anything, it highlights the generosity of a "bankrupt, failed" Government that has consistently been saying that blanket subsidies are removed so that more targeted assistances can be given.

You should continue to hide behind pseudonyms because your lack of knowledge and emotionally driven comments are disgraceful.

Let me highlight one more. A subscriber named Clever Voter said that "Growth of anything less than roughly 7-8 percent conservatively means we borrow to close the deficit."

Well, according to data from the Economist, there were no country that grew between 7-8% in 2016 and by the way, Malaysia is the 9th best performing economy in the world last year.

So yes, based on the 'Clever Voter Theory', everyone borrowed to finance their deficits.

For the year 2017, only India has been forecasted to achieve a growth that fits your 'clever' theory, at 7.4% while Malaysia is expected to be 7th fastest growing economy in the world this year.

A clear failure of Barisan Nasional, and it is all Najib's fault.

May I suggest, that the Clever Voter and his friends spend some time this weekend in MPH at the Economics textbook section. That will help.