For starters, it showed YB Kula Segaran’s commitment to transparency and accountability; having received so many complaints about HRDF upon taking over his portfolio as Human Resources Minister, the Minister had felt that the best way to deal with the situation was to organise a Town Hall.
‘It looks like HRDF’s management and policies are in line for a much needed review and revamp for the sake of human resources betterment in Malaysia,’ said K B Chan, a training provider who believes that the Minister did so to kick start this process.
While it is ridiculous to expect a new government to solve 60 years of problems in 100 days, the creative way in which this situation was engineered showed a lot of trust in one segment of stakeholders to fight for what is right for the industry by themselves.
And the gamble paid off.
From highlighting poor support from the agency in its operations, to its tendency to practice favoritism in its tenders, participant after participant in the Town Hall vented their frustration and anger in a way that had never been seen before.
The crux of the matter showed itself in the allegations of impropriety in various forms. As a question posed in a trainers’ WhatsApp group earlier today asked:
“In a sinking ship, do we still give the repair job to the ‘friend’ we know who does not have the experience of the shipwright standing right there next to us to save a few ringgit, or worse, give it to the friend with the expectation of a kickback?“
For too long, this has been the case.Whether it is in terms of training providers taking advantage of the system, or whether it is in terms of appointed government servants/officials/representatives misusing their positions, the fact remains that the quality of training in the country has been impacted by a serious lack of oversight and ‘close-one-eye’.
As such, the time is ripe for greater regulation over the industry as a whole – for too long these unscrupulous elements have been taking advantage of the loopholes in the system.
In addition, having met one group of stakeholders, it is time for the Minister to meet another more important group – the trainers themselves. Being the ones who are the real experts in the industry dealing with the training process itself, any committee planned must engage with the actual change agents involved in upskilling, reskilling and multiskilling the nation’s workforce.
While the training providers represent the business side of things, their input will be insufficient in resolving the issues faced by the nation’s human resource needs – and the Minister needs to be aware of this. Engaging with experts from various areas would therefore help ensure the interests of all parties are better served. To ensure the same old story is not repeated, these people need to be paid a fee for their services, or if that is not possible, carried out in an open, transparent platform that would deny such temptations.