Saturday 21 May 2011

DAP mocks PSD over scholarship oversight

May 21, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — The DAP questioned how the government could make a “silly” mistake in not granting scholarships to top students despite spending billions on information technology.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin reportedly ordered the Public Service Department (PSD) yesterday to investigate complaints that some SPM top scorers were not offered scholarships.

“Isn’t spending billions of ringgit on computerisation a waste of public funds when the federal government cannot even correct the simple but silly mistake of not granting scholarships to top students?” DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng (picture) said in a statement today.
Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, stressed that his ministry was not to blame as its list of scholarship candidates had already been forwarded.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, who is also the MCA Youth chief, reportedly said last Wednesday that government officers who disobeyed Cabinet directives were one of the main reasons why top deserving students failed to get scholarships.

Lim repeated his party’s call for a full investigation into the annual problem of top-scoring students not being granted PSD scholarships while lower-performing students were given overseas scholarships instead.
“Malaysians are puzzled as to how this blunder by fumbling officials can even occur,” he said.

“In this day and age, with computerised databases and the amount of technology available, how can such a straightforward process of awarding scholarships to top students end up so botched?” asked the Penang chief minister.

He pointed out that the government spent about RM2 billion on IT infrastructure and services last year, according to the Malaysia Information Technology Report for Q2 2011.

“Every year, billions of ringgit are spent on upgrading and maintaining government IT systems, yet errors of this magnitude can still occur,” said the Bagan MP.

Lim added that it was a “no brainer” to correct the error, urging the government to award deserving students with scholarships immediately.

He also said it was “preposterous” for the government to ask deserving students to appeal for the PSD scholarships.

“To do so is akin to punishing them for a fault that is not theirs!” he said.

“The federal government had better get their act together or risk losing more Malaysian talent to other countries who must be laughing their heads off at our sheer incompetence,” he said.

MCA Youth accused the DAP yesterday of exploiting the controversy for political gain and not to help top scorers overlooked by the PSD.

MCA Youth secretary-general Datuk Chai Kim Sen said the opposition party was only good at “instigating problems” to curry favour with voters but had so far failed to propose solutions to the annual problem.
Chai said MCA Youth was already busy reviewing scholarship appeals to help “victimised” top students but the DAP was slowing matters down by making the public “restless and impulsive” and unable to think clearly.
He also said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s decision to give PSD scholarships to all students who achieve 8A+ in the SPM regardless of race was because of the MCA’s constant insistence.

Wee said last Thursday that some 363 straight A+ students who deserved to be funded to study abroad had lost out to those with lower grades.

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