FOR many years, the Public Service Department has been offering scholarships (JPA scholarships) to Malaysians to continue their tertiary studies. The scholarships are mainly offered to those who scored 9A+ in their SPM examination.
One of the conditions attached to the scholarship is that the students are required to work for the Malaysian government after completing their studies. The hope is for the nation’s bright minds to serve their community, particularly the taxpayers who have been funding their education.
However, it has come to my knowledge that many students are not complying with the requirement. In this regard, it is rather unfair to the taxpayers who have been contributing to their education.
It is important that they give back to the country by contributing their practical knowledge in the field they chose when applying for the scholarship. It is also unfair for the other students who are “forced” to pay for their PTPTN loans, considering that the amounts given are much smaller and with no or minimal allowances.
Why isn’t there stricter enforcement on JPA students to make them serve the country? If they fail to do so, they should be made to pay back the full amount of the scholarship plus the allowances they were given.
Some may argue that lack of job opportunities in Malaysia, better work-life balance or a brighter future elsewhere made them decide to stay and work overseas. In this case, I understand that we all desire different things in life. However, if you fail to serve the people who funded your education, it’s only fair that you pay back the amount that was given to you.
The average cost for a medical degree in a private local university is almost RM500,000. Students are given allowances of about RM800 monthly for the entire duration of the scholarship. This amounts to about RM550,000.
If 50 students receive this amount for that year, this would add up to RM27mil. That money could be used by the government for other purposes, such as enhancing medical services and providing better public transport.
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