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Inability to cite  a single ´┐Żbest brain´┐Ż attracted into the public sector in the past five years highlights the dismal  failure of the 2001 K-Economy Master Plan


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Media Statement (2)

by Lim Kit Siang  
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(Parliament
, Wednesday) : The inability of the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Dr. Ng Yen Yen, to name a dozen or even a single one of the ´┐Żbest brains´┐Ż attracted into the public sector in the past five years during question time in Parliament today highlights the dismal failure of the 2001 K-Economy Master Plan.

I had posed this question to Ng when asking a supplementary question to the query concerning the success and future of the Multimedia Super Corridor which celebrated its 10th anniversary establishment recently.

The 2001 K-Economy Master Plan, the blueprint to migrate Malaysia  from a production-based economy to a knowledge-based economy under the Third Outline Perspective Plan (2001-2010), made 136 recommendations to effect such a transition.

One of 136 recommendations is to ´┐ŻAttract some of the best brains into the public sector´┐Ż.

Under the overall policy and strategic objective to ´┐Żdevelop a world-class knowledge-based public service´┐Ż which is skilled, knowledgeable, efficient, competent, people-centred, open, accountable which fully adopts and leverages upon ICT, the K-Economy Master Plan proposed that the government  attract some of the best brains into the public sector.

It said:

´┐ŻIt is critical that the public sector attracts and retains competent staff. Posts identified as important and strategic should be filled by some of the best brains.´┐Ż

I had asked Ng whether  she could name a dozen of the ´┐Żbest brains´┐Ż who had been attracted into the public sector in the past five years under the K-Economy Masterplan, and when she appeared to be under difficulties, I asked for only one name ´┐Ż which she was also unable to furnish.

The Higher Education Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamad, who had previously  been intimately involved with the formulation of the K-Economy Master Plan as well as the Ninth Malaysia Plan, should classify the posts of vice chancellors, deputy vice chancellors  and deans of public universities as important and strategic posts which should be filled by the ´┐Żbest brains´┐Ż and not those with the ´┐Żbest connections´┐Ż. 

Vice Chancellors, deputy vice chancellors and deans of public universities should be avatars  of meritocracy instead of being examples of mediocrity, which is one important reason for the continued erosion of international standing of Malaysian public universities.

A lot of politics is going on in the appointment of the new Vice Chancellor of University of Malaya. This should stop.  The best person who could restore the international academic standing of University of Malaya by 2010 should be appointed as the UM Vice Chancellor, regardless of race, gender or even nationality.

Is Mustapha prepared to initiate a world search for the best person for the post of Vice Chancellor of University of Malaya, even if he or she is not a Malaysian citizen?

Mustapha should realize that all eyes are on this appointment, for it will be a critical  test as to whether K-Economy Master Plan of attracting the ´┐Żbest brains´┐Ż into the public sector to effect Malaysia´┐Żs transition into a knowledge economy and the Ninth Malaysia Plan and National Mission 2006-2020 to nurture ´┐ŻFirst Class Mentality´┐Ż are just empty slogans or there is at last the political will to ´┐Żwalk the talk´┐Ż.

In fact, it will be no exaggeration to say that the success or otherwise  of Mustapha as the second Higher Education Minister to transform Malaysia into an international centre of academic excellence (and his goal of having two Malaysian universities among  the world´┐Żs top 50 universities by 2010) will be determined to  a large extent by the appointment of the Vice Chancellor of University of Malaya.


(19/04/2006)     
                                                      


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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