Sunday, June 07, 2009

How Many JPA Scholars Serve Their Bond?

I've been meaning to post this for the longest time, but somehow never got around to do it. Anyway, there has been plenty of talk on the JPA scholarship (again) recently, and one of the related issues which keep cropping up is whether the talents of our returning(?) scholars are actually being fully "exploited" by the Government.

I have addressed the following question to the Prime Minister in parliament:
...berapa ramai pemegang biasiswa yang telah selesai pengajian pada 5 tahun yang lepas, antara mereka, berapakah yang telah berkhidmat untuk Kerajaan mengikut syarat perjanjian biasiswa, berapakah yang enggan menunaikan perjanjian dan yang telah dilepaskan daripada tanggungjawab mereka.
We obviously know that many of the scholars never served in Government but even I was a little taken abacked by the number who has been released incognito.
Bagi tempoh 5 tahun lepas iaitu 2003-2007, seramai 30,832 pelajar tajaan JPA telah menamatkan pengajian di dalam dan luar Negara. Jumlah ini meliputi pelajar-pelajar yang tamat pengajian di peringkat diploma, ijazah sarjana muda dan sarjana.

Sepanjang tempoh tersebut, seramai 4,920 orang telah berkhidmat dalam pelbagai skim perkhidmatan lantikan SPA. Terdapat juga pelajar-pelajar ini yang sedang berkhidmat di bawah skim perkhidmatan yang dilantik oleh Pihak Berkuasa Melantik yang lain seperti Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Pelajaran (SPP), Badan-badan Berkanun dan Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan.

Manakala, seramai 314 bekas pelajar tajaan JPA telah memohon dan dilepaskan daripada kontrak.

Pemegang-pemegang biasiswa yang tidak menunaikan kewajipan mereka, tidak akan dilepaskan dari tanggungjawab dengan sewenang-wenangnya. Tuntutan gantirugi melalui penguatkuasaan syarat perjanjian Biasiswa akan dikenakan ke atas mereka yang ingkar terhadap perjanjian yang telah ditandatangani.
Yes, that means that only 16% of JPA scholars actually serve their bonds upon return to the country over the last 5 years. The remainder? Your guess is as good as mine.

No wonder everyone wants the JPA scholarship, while you sign up with a bond, in practice, you'd rarely have to serve a single day of the contract.


changyang1230 said...

A clarification needs to be made.

Out of the 84% who do not "serve their bond", not all of them are people who abscond in overseas or run away from the SPA.

Of course we all know that a number of scholars in critical courses especially medicine stay overseas and refuse to serve their bonds when they graduate.

But as far as I know, there are also many scholars in non-critical courses who, despite their return to the country and willingness to serve the bond, are NOT given a job by SPA, and are subsequently legally released 1/2 to 1 year later. These are people who are legally not serving the bond.

Anonymous said...

Its a known fact that many JPA scholars do not honor their obligation or work for the Govt. The reason is obvious - the Govt do not have sufficient vacancies especially non-medical posts.

Further more, Govt job's preference for Bumi is the reality. Hence most non-Bumi are keen to get JPA scholarship knowing very well that JPA will release them sooner than later.

WY said...

Dear Tony,

Firstly, the Govt doesn't even have a proper Human Resources organisation. They have many talents (from JPA scholarship programme), but obviously have no intention to using these talents (who inturn could take over their jobs).

Secondly, i believe most if not many, JPA scholars actually went home and reported for duty. Whether they get a job or not, i don't know.

Thirdly, and probably most importantly, JPA scholars don't repay all their scholarship in the scenario that they don't get a job. If their results are good, they will pay 10-25%. and the maximum repayment is rm125,000 (regardless of the monies JPA had spent).

Wei Jiet said...

That's why I'm disgusted with certain JPA applicants who claim to love their country and would willingly serve the country in the interviews. In fact, deep down their heart, they only want to go overseas, then get a high paying job and stay there for the glamour of "working overseas". Some even cheat their parents salary who are filthy rich businessman with a low RM1000 and below. I know this because I've known people who admit they did it. Which leaves us honest and patriotic students who are rejected by JPA....I know I'm being quite nasty and sorry if i offended anyone.

Mel said...

There is truth in what changyang said. I know this is particularly true for Engineering students, because there aren't that many engineering jobs available to them in the public sector upon graduation. Therefore, they are legally released from their bond within 1-2 years of graduation.

Anonymous said...

SaPPhire DraGoN,
what do you mean by "filthy" rich? Are you trying to prove somthting here?and i know, most of the student do love our country, but after they studied in overseas, they learned that the goverment DONT even LOVE them..... So, they decide to stay where they think they should.... and definitely NOT Malaysia

Shawn Tan said...

Have to agree with the statements made in some of the comments. JPA is pretty much a free ride. The medical students only need to pay back RM180,000 or so (for UK medicine) when they break their bond. Many of them do that. That's a big loop-hole that needs to be sealed. Most of the engineers have to job offers and are automatically released. All my JPA engineering friends have been released, some with a marginal pay-back of about 20%. As I have mentioned before, our government (and related agencies) are not very good at hiring and retaining even those who come back to serve. So, even those who serve, may end up breaking their bond and leaving. I think that it is all a big waste. This problem doesn't just happen to JPA. It happens to some other bonded scholarships as well from other agencies and GLCs.

changyang1230 said...

Shawn, the 160K loop hole has been fixed for some years. Now anyone who wants to break the bond is required to pay back the full amount. At least that's what is written on the paper.

Anonymous said...

Yeah i agree to Shawn that the problem happened not only to JPA, but also other bond-scholarship sponsors as well. Eg: my friend was a Petronas engineering scholar that just graduated last year. He was not offered any job by Petronas and was released 1/2 year ago. Now, he is still actively looking for job.

Jo-Anne said...

To Luke:
Petronas? They can't effort an engineer? how come? it should be a reason.

clhchiu said...

Many are gaming the JPA system, and no one bothers to tackle the root of the issue. Hope that PKR members take it up and press on until something effective is being done. Otherwise, we would end up as a nation that would be spending without thinking!

Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 6/08/2009 02:30:00 PM,

i quote "and i know, most of the student do love our country, but after they studied in overseas, they learned that the goverment DONT even LOVE them..... So, they decide to stay where they think they should.... and definitely NOT Malaysia"

do you only realise the love from your government after leaving for overseas and after taking the taxpayers' money? can i ask for a loan from you saying how much i love you and after taking your money and flee overseas i immediately recant my love and justify taking your money like that is reasonable? you should do further reading, especially in the area of contract law. i really dun understand the legal position "love" or "patriotism" have in any form of contract, especially a financial contract.

SLAB said...

Tony, I have several friends (JPA scholars) who continued with MS and PhD overseas under the Skim Latihan Akademik Bumiputera (SLAB) immediately after their first degree.

Come on said...

Any move which questions the interests of the Malays and Bumiputeras in terms of scholarships and places of study not only violates the fundamental provisions in the federal and state constitutions but also questions the sovereignty of the Yang di Pertuan Agong and the Malay rulers, Perak’s Sultan Azlan Shah said on Thursday - ThaStar.

Anonymous said...

I think there are so many assumptions (true/untrue) we can make based on the facts and figures. Those students who intend to run from the JPA scholarship may be in the minority, just because we have "many" friends who do that doesn't mean it is true for the 84% who don't serve the government. It's a case of perception vs reality, and no one can fully know the reality as there are so many JPA scholars around!

Anonymous said...

Another plausible explanation is that of the many JPA students who dont work in the Malaysian government... still work in the Malaysian private sector, hence still contributing to the country! Is it still a waste of taxpayer's money then? I think not.

Anonymous said...

I think we are focusing on the wrong issue here... We cannot control individuals (i.e. JPA scholars)... but we can try to make Malaysia a place where people would WANT to come and work, whether they are malaysian or non-malaysian. That is the right issue to focus on.

Anonymous said...

It is mostly due to the government's inefficiency that the students manage to run away.The best example is Australia where the medical councils have rules stating that sponsored students require proof that they can stay on to work in Australia for eg the council for Vic states that "If you have been sponsored during your medical degree, and you are seeking internship, you must provide evidence that you have gained approval from your funding or sponsorship agency to undertake internship in Victoria."
However students still managed to run away because the councils don't know who these students are unless JPA send them an official list of students sponsored in Australia. Sponsored students have been told that they cannot defer to return after graduation by JPA because previous students used it as an excuse to run away. JPA should be stern and give some example such as suing them bankrupt or withdraw their passport(which effectively means they have o return immediately) since passport is the property of the country and if they run away with taxpayers' money they should be penalised.

Anonymous said...

Please do not confuse between those who do not report back to JPA after graduating and those who did report back to JPA but were not given any job.

The latter group is not blameworthy as they are released as per the scholarship agreement when JPA is unable to provide any job suitable with their qualifications. Some job positions, although limited, are sought after by most fresh graduates (for example, Pegawai Tadbir & Diplomatic) and the applicants come in thousands when the alloted vacancies are just in hundreds. The government could only absorb the best out of this big group and leave most of them out.

Anonymous said...

firstly, all JPA scholars are required to repay the FULL amount that they used - that is the clause now, used to be lesser than, but has changed.

the question is:


WHY DON'T THEY USE THE MONEY TO BETTER THE EDUCATION. maintain the standards. import lecturers. better facilities. A few good ones can go overseas, and come back to share the experience. But if they send ppl overseas & are unable to find jobs for them, why do so.

Furthermore, many complain that the selection system is bias. which i must agree. Go for the JPA interview, ask all the students there. believe you me, there is an obvious trend between the results of the students with the colour of their skin.

And, why force the students to come back? Why don't you focus more on being a place where the students WANT to come back to serve the country? Being educated students, they know wrong to right, ethics and responsibilities. Its the chaotic situation in our home country which drives these students away.

Break-ins during the DAY, EVENING and NIGHT.

Car-window smashings during MORNINGS and NIGHTS.

Kidnapping. Slashing. Snatch thieves in abundance.

Do you really think that these students hate our country that much? They don't!! But these situations just drives one away. Especially if you're a girl, driving to and fro work is dangerous on its own. Public transport is...OMG.

So I don't think the students are to blame. Being scholars, I believe free scholarship isn't their only motive. It may be to some, but definitely not majority!

I've known some who are gungho to return to work - but nearing their service, they just get so taken aback by the local situation that they feel like they would not progress here, or that the unfair treatment that is practiced has just been taken to a whole new different level.

Home is always where we would prefer to be. Its only when the situation at home is uninviting when we are forced to choose a different path. Do you think that all the JPA students that study abroad really prefer it there? Higher pay - yes. but higher taxes. rent. and all that compared to home where your friends and family are.

Don't just deduce and say they are all bad because they take the money and run away. OPEN YOUR EYES AND ASK WHY THEY ARE DOING THAT.

Anonymous said...

and btw, the contract law statement above makes no sense. and yes i have studies contract law. but yes you don't make any sense.

Anonymous said...

I was a JPA scholar. and im not faking it. Well racism aside, i will tell u the truth about everything. as far as i know.
the problem with JPA is that they accept applicants who are just average. and please, dont just assume that these students are just from a single race. however, those types from that single race made up majority of these students, but fact is fact.
JPA paid us to study. that is simple as tat. however, many , when got here, instead of spending their time to be better students so that we can be known as "great scholars from the south east", majority spends that leisure time playing guitar heroes, going out, mixing with the "bad" people, drinking . u can guess it, u name it. and those who study, well, yes they earn good grades. but the problem is. most of these good grades scholars are most probably are the ones who "run" at first crack of dawn.
i for one, believes that, i am not bonded to jpa or the government. but i am bonded or in a sense, responsible to pay back in any form because I AM USING TAXPAYERS' MONEY. thats the fact, not even u, or me or any person can change that.
However, i do have this opinion that good students, coming to serve with just a degree is a waste of human resource. these individuals can go on to earn their phds and then come back. there are a lot of things made possible with phds, instead with just a degree.
i am one who wants to get a phd FIRST before i can come back and really help to serve malaysia and its people.
who knows, if all those ex-jpa scholars with phds can band together and create jobs/ improve the living standard of malaysia.
this was wat china did and they had a functional nuclear program up and running in matter of a few decades.
JPA should handle its scholars WAY BETTER!
number 1: better pay. i cant believe that a maritime lieutenant earns more than a mechanical engineer etc
number 2:select students who really worth the money and trouble
number 3: send us to a better pre-uni college. INTEC, UiTM was a horrible place with SUBPAR lecturers. the environment is not conducive at all for us to study. in exams, majority of people are copying from one and another.
one more thing/ intec is not free from any scandal. if its taylors or intis, then it wont come as a big surprise. in intec, there are scandals. this just prove my prev points. be more selective.
thats all i can say. im currently waiting for either 2 things( get a job from jpa or going back to for grad school) but it all lead to the same thing in the end. no matter wat, i will come back to serve because i have spent half a million of taxpayers' money and im not the type of person who can forget a debt so easily.