Scholarship Talent Attraction & Retention (STAR) Initiative

Aug 08, 2014 1 Min Read


Government scholars contributing to national transformation

The Public Service Department (JPA) sponsors a large pool of scholars annually who study both locally and in renowned universities worldwide.

The ultimate goal of the Government is to make a long term investment for the nation in order to ensure access to, and the sustainability of a pool of top talent in the future.

These top performing scholars are potential leaders, and are sent to pursue disciplines that are critical to the nation’s development. With the expectation that this pool of talent can be leveraged to support the public and just as importantly the private sector, the Government launched the STAR initiative in August 2011.

STAR TalentCorp

The STAR initiative focuses on optimising the return-on-investment of JPA scholars who graduate each year, from both local and foreign universities. It does so by providing an option for JPA scholars who were not offered a position in the public sector to fulfil their bond commitment while being employed in the private sector.

This joint initiative between JPA and TalentCorp has garnered the participation of about 600 top Malaysian government linked corporations (GLCs) and leading global companies.

On the success of the STAR programme:

Director General JPA

“STAR demonstrates our engagement with GLCs and corporate organisations in Malaysia in nurturing, developing and retaining our own talent to continue serving the nation. JPA will continue championing the advancement of talent to fully harness the skills, talent and energy of the bright Malaysians working together to achieve a high income nation. Smart partnerships through Public – Private Sector collaboration shows that the Government is progressive and committed to Citizenising the Public Service for the nation.” – Tan Sri Mohamad Zabidi Zainal, Director General of Public Service Malaysia

Benefit to companies

STAR initiative

Through the STAR initiative, registered companies can access graduates from top foreign and local universities.

The STAR initiative ensures that the nation’s long-term investment in the form of Government-funded scholarships pays off by enabling scholars not selected for public service to serve their bond in private companies in the 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) emphasised in the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

Raiha Azni Abdul Rahman, senior vice-president, human resource management, PETRONAS:

“As a Fortune 500 company, PETRONAS continuously recruit top graduate talents to meet our business needs. In building a sustainable pipeline of talent, our recruitment strategy includes partnership with TalentCorp to engage other scholars including JPA scholars where we promote PETRONAS employment value proposition (EVP) to attract the young graduates to join the company. Our EVP as a leading organization provides opportunity for graduates to contribute and be part of the growing oil and gas industry.”

Nora Abd Manaf, group chief human capital officer, Maybank:

“As a leading financial services provider clinching top spot in the Malaysia’s 100 (M100) Leading Graduate Employers for 2 years in a row, Maybank is continuously on the lookout for talents to fuel the Bank’s rapid progress to achieve the Bank’s aspirations. The JPA-TalentCorp STAR initiative provides us with timely access to top talents from various backgrounds who will be provided with a wholesome learning experience within the Group to accelerate professional development and careers towards becoming our future leaders.”

Marlene Goh, general manager of Public Bank’s Human Capital Management:

“Public Bank is partnering with TalentCorp on the STAR programme as we would like to provide scholars with a career option in financial services especially those who were not absorbed into the public sector. The JPA scholars whom we have recruited are doing well and we would like to welcome more to join us.”

Rajat Saggar, regional director for Talent Acquisition for AIG expressed the need of global companies to acquire quality human capital:

“AIG Shared Services is developing a global centre of excellence in insurance and financial services in Malaysia and we are in need of bright young talent to meet the hiring needs of our business. We are keen to partner with TalentCorp to recruit JPA scholars who will benefit by building a global career and at the same time, contribute to the Government’s aspirations for Malaysia to emerge as an international centre for finance.”

Mahendra Dinesh Palaniappan, assistant graduate manager, Kerry Asia Pacific:

“Kerry Asia Pacific provides the largest, most innovative portfolio of Taste & Nutrition Systems and Functional Ingredients & Actives for the global food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. The STAR initiative is a straightforward way for MNCs like us to directly tap on a good pool of scholars, particularly those with engineering and sciences majors. We connect with them and offer them the opportunity to develop their career as part of the Kerry Graduate Programme.”

Benefit to scholars

STAR initiatives

Through STAR, JPA scholars have an option to be considered for jobs in the private sector while serving their scholarship bond. The STAR initiative also provides a certainty in their employment, as once approval is given by JPA, scholars can continue to work in the private sector without fear of being recalled by Government, unless they choose to accept the Government’s offer of employment.

AirAsia X
Another STAR participant, Timothy Tam, a graduate from Stanford University, U.S.A and now a Technical Services Engineer at AirAsia X: “It is amazing how the STAR initiative has enabled me to further pursue my interest in engineering, while simultaneously contributing to the country. Being able to work for one of Malaysia’s leading employers has truly been an eye opener and a motivating experience for me to further my career in this field.”

Nicholas Khaw, a JPA scholar, graduated from Harvard College in Economics. Upon graduation, he began his career at the Economic Planning Unit. There, Nick contributed to several national development initiatives such as the Tenth Malaysia Plan, the Economic Transformation Programme and the Strategic Reform Initiatives, which enabled him to utilise his background in Economics.

After approximately one and a half years in the EPU, Nick became the first STAR programme participant to continue serving his scholarship bond outside the civil service. He is an economist at Research and Investment Strategy Division, Khazanah Nasional Berhad. He believes that his long-term career path lies in the realm of the public sector and he is grateful to the STAR initiative for affording him the opportunity to contribute towards building the nation from within the private sector.

Tradewinds Corp Bhd
Nurul Farah Raizal, a STAR participant and graduate from Universiti Tenaga Nasional, talked about being employed as an accounts executive with Tradewinds Corporation Berhad, one of the largest property and hotel owners in Malaysia, with divisions in hospitality, insurance and retail sectors:

“I felt excited as this was my first step towards beginning my career in the field I love. I got the position through the STAR-GEMS Networking Session organized by TalentCorp.” This being her first job, she is prepared to meet the challenges of a fast-changing environment. She added, “I am very thankful to JPA and TalentCorp for the opportunity given to me and I will surely better myself in pursuing this career path”.

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