Tuesday 14 June 2011

Nazri's remarks raise doubts in PSD, ETP, NEM... by Ramon Navaratnam

The announcement by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Aziz, that it is government policy not to publish the list of Public Service Department scholarships, is most unfair and unreasonable!

I hope it is the minister's own personal decision and not that of the government, as it directly contradicts and negates all government's policies and the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's frequent pronouncements, to promote more integrity, transparency and accountability in the whole government.

The suspicious secrecy surrounding the PSD scholarships will undermine the public confidence that was being rebuilt recently to ensure a more fair and equitable allocation of PSD scholarships.
These awards that are stated to be based on academic achievement (20%), racial composition (60%), bumiputera in Sabah and Sarawak (10%) and the socially disadvantaged (10%), will now be widely questioned, as to how reasonable these ratios are and how honestly they have been followed.

The governments`s credibility will now be unnecessarily and increasingly questioned not only in this vital area of the fair award of PSD Scholarships. All other issues relating to the implementation of the government`s Economic Transformation Programme and the New Economic Model will raise doubts.

Even today's announcement of the nine new Project Initiatives that are expected to generate RM2.77 billion in investment and 36,595 jobs will also be regarded as doubtful! Such are the problems of poor public perception and the need to be more transparent to win public support for government policies.

The public will also be peeved by the minister's claim that there is still “a lack of public understanding despite efforts to educate the people through the media”.
What the public cannot understand is the blatant lack of transparency that is worsened by the minister's attempt to justify the secrecy and his indifference to accountability and to integrity.

Hence, I am sure that the public would greatly appreciate the open and honest publication of the whole list of PSD scholars.
We appeal to the government to fulfill the public's expectations for the government to practise the high standards of integrity that it promotes, by revealing the 'PSD secrets' urgently.

The writer is chairperson of the Center of Public Policy Studies

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