JPA scholars laud deferral

Farid: The deferment is about enriching our skill set and expanding our global perspective.

PETALING JAYA: Students studying overseas on Public Service Department (JPA) scholarships welcome the government’s move to allow them to defer their return to Malaysia by up to three years.

They say the deferment allows them to pursue enriching employment experiences and skills abroad, which will be put to good use when they return to contribute to the country.

Farah Mardhiah Mohd Shahimi, 22, a final year Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of Melbourne, said she would try to apply for the deferment as she would like to gain more hands-on skills within the industry to ensure that by the time she returns to Malaysia, she is at her highest possible potential.

Farah Mardhiah: We can apply in-class and out-of-class theory into our jobs when back home.Farah Mardhiah: We can apply in-class and out-of-class theory into our jobs when back home.

“I think it is important for this option to be made available since, especially for us in Australia, doing an internship during studies is not compulsory, so there might be a gap between our course knowledge and the relevant soft skills needed for the actual working industry.

“I feel like this is a good opportunity for us to gain a greater experience and apply the knowledge that we learnt in class directly to get a full grasp of the in-class and out-of-class theory to be applied during our time serving Malaysia,” said Farah Mardhiah, who is from Kuantan, Pahang.

Another final-year student at the University of Melbourne, Farid Roslan, 22, who is also pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree, said the government’s decision to allow JPA students to apply for deferment demonstrates a forward-thinking approach that recognises the value of global exposure and professional development.

He said the deferment was not just about delaying their return but about enriching their skill set and expanding their global perspective, which will be invaluable upon their return.

“This policy acknowledges the significant benefits of students who immerse themselves in diverse environments.

“Providing them the option to extend their stay abroad post-graduation enables them to leverage the newly formed connections and experiences they made during their studies.

“In the long term, this approach promises to yield substantial benefits for Malaysia as when these graduates return, they’ll bring a wealth of expertise and a broadened outlook.

“This is far more advantageous for the country than the immediate repatriation of fresh graduates,” he said.

Farid added that their enhanced skills and international experience would drive innovation and growth across various industries back home.

He also said that his decision on whether to apply for the deferment would be contingent upon the opportunities available as he approaches completing his studies.

“Should I secure a job placement in Australia, I am inclined to gain practical experience and further expand my professional network here.

“The prospect of working in Australia presents an invaluable opportunity to enhance my skill set and capabilities, which I believe will enable me to contribute more significantly to Malaysia upon my return.

“My ultimate goal is to ensure that any path I choose maximises my potential contribution to my homeland,” he said.

Starting Feb 15, JPA students in their final year pursuing their first degree overseas can apply to defer their return to Malaysia by up to three years.

The JPA said deferment would allow students to pursue employment and skills abroad, but students must continue to repay their scholarships through monthly instalments.

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