PSD must lift veil of secrecy

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 personal decision and not that of the Government as it directly contradicts and negates all the Government’s policies and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s frequent pronouncements to promote more integrity, transparency and accountability in the Government.

The secrecy surrounding the PSD scholarships will undermine the public confidence that is being rebuilt to ensure a fairer and more equitable allocation of PSD scholarships.

These awards – which 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 widely questioned as to how reasonable these ratios are and how honestly they have been followed.

The Government’s credibility will now be unnecessarily and increasingly questioned not only in this vital area of the fair award of PSD scholarships, but all other issues relating to the implementation of the Government’s Economic Transformation Programmes and the New Economic Model will also raise doubts.

Even the announcement of the nine new Project Initiatives that are expected to generate RM2.77bil in investment and 36,595 jobs (“ETP hits a milestone” – The Star, June 14) will also be regarded as doubtful.

Such are the problems of poor public perceptions 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 integrity.

I am sure that the public will greatly appreciate the open and honest publication of the whole list of PSD scholars.

Therefore, 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.

Article published in The Sun, The Star, and The New Straits Times.

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