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Election Watch

Make list of PSD scholars public

Source: The Sun
Date: 16 June 2011

THE announcement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz that it is government policy not to publish the list of PSD scholarships is most unfair and unreasonable.

I hope it is the minister’s own view and not that of the government, as it directly contradicts and negates the government’s policies and the prime minister’s frequent pronouncements to promote integrity, transparency and accountability.
The secrecy surrounding PSD scholarships will undermine the public confidence that was rebuilt recently in a more equitable allocation of scholarships. These awards that are stated to be based on academic achievement (20%), racial composition (60%), bumis in Sabah and Sarawak (10%), and the socially disadvantaged (10%), will now be questioned – how reasonable these ratios are and how honestly they have been followed.

The government’s credibility will unnecessarily be questioned not only in this vital area of scholarships, but others relating to the implementation of the Economic Transformation Programme and the New Economic Model. Even the recent announcement of nine new project initiatives that are expected to generate RM2.77 billion in investment and 36,595 jobs will also be doubted. 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 be peeved at the minister’s claim that there is still “a lack of public understanding despite efforts to educate the people through the media”. But what the public cannot understand is the blatant lack of transparency that is made worse by the minister’s attempt to justify the secrecy and his indifference to accountability.

Hence I am sure that the public would greatly appreciate an open and honest publication of the whole list of PSD scholars. As such, we appeal to the government to fulfil the public’s expectations of the high standard of integrity in government that it promotes, by doing just that.

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam 
Centre for Public Policy Studies

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