THERE has been much hue and cry over the selection of Public Services Department scholars annually. This year was no exception. Parents cry foul and unsuccessful applicants who have excelled in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia are broken. No amount of coaxing and explanation can placate the devastated child. High achievers are demoralised and quickly they lose faith in the whole system and the country. I can empathise with hundreds of excellent applicants who have failed in their applications as I am one the statistics.
I scored 10 1A’s and one 2A’s in last year’s SPM. I was actively involved in co-curricular activities. I was the president of the English Language Society and the Christian Fellowship, secretary of the St John Ambulance and represented my school in badminton and table tennis. Amid the euphoria and accolades, my father forewarned me not to place any high hopes on the several applications for scholarship which I had submitted. He has been teaching for 28 years and has seen one too many shattered faces among his students.
Out of the six applications which I had made, I was not even short-listed for an interview with the exception of the PSD. Among them were Khazanah Nasional, Petronas, Yayasan Telekom and Bank Negara. Coincidentally, these are GLCs. Had I been called up for the interviews, I would not be venting out my pent-up fury writing this letter. I feel that it is a cruel and depraved world out there. I was not given an iota of a chance to compete and demonstrate my competence against the other applicants in the presence of a panel of interviewers. To rub salt into the wound, I have also failed in my application into matriculation colleges.
My schoolmates who succeeded in their applications have shared with me that there were successful PSD applicants who had only seven A’s; and matriculation students with four A’s. I am confused and devastated. Am I too good for a matriculation programme but cannot even qualify to be short-listed for an interview for the GLCs scholarships?
I was made to understand that children of civil servants stand a better chance. But it looks as though this actually works against us. Both my parents who are government servants honestly declared our net family income to the last sen but many non-civil workers unashamedly cheat on their annual income. This gives their children an unfair advantage as net family income is one of the criteria.
I call upon the authorities concerned to right the wrongs. I and the other high achievers should be given a second chance to resurrect our faith in this blessed nation. Favouritism and discrimination should not be allowed to continually plague and haunt our country. In the wake of a competitive and challenging global world, we cannot be championing mediocrity at the expense of excellence and meritocracy.
Justice for Justin