We have a special letter here and guess what! It is written by the 1st MPPC Project Director, Winson Lee for all the MPPC participants! Read on to find out more about how MPPC was conceived and some valuable tips on participating the Residential Challenge.
Congratulations for making it to the Residential Challenge! I know how it was to be in your shoes, because I was myself a participant many years ago albeit in a different setting. If I may take some of your time, I would like to share a story with you just to help you appreciate the significance and the spirit behind the Malaysia Public Policy Competition.
When I was still a student back in 2010, my friend (who co-founded ICMS) and I decided to sign up for a public policy competition organized by the Singapore Public Service Department, because it offered a huge cash bounty of 4000 pounds for the winning team. As Malaysians, we both had no interest in the public policy landscape of Singapore but, the incentive was good. It was good money for 3 days of work.
Our task over the 3D2N weekend – same competition format, stress, and excitement as yours – was to propose solutions to strengthen the social security for Singaporeans before it becomes a national time bomb in the future. We suspect we did not win because it would be awkward for two Malaysians to poke our noses into their affairs. Nonetheless, we walked out with three epiphanies.
Number one, it is prudent to crowd-source policy ideas from your brightest talent because they will eventually be your most demanding citizens in the future. They will carry significant influence later, and it would be worth the civil service’s time to engage with them as early as possible.
Number two, most people do not appreciate the challenges faced by policy makers. Every policy is a double-edged sword, and every stakeholder is a self-interested party (I would like to see all fast food outlets to be banned because they are bad for my heart!). We believe that every person should appreciate how public policy affects them because too much is at stake. Even policies with good intentions may turn out to be detrimental unless there is sufficient resources, manpower and thought put in place.
Number three, we genuinely felt Malaysia needed to tap into her best talents for the future of her policy making. And that is how MPPC was conceived.
Some tips over the weekend: Think hard and think heart. Think hard about the proposed policy’s costs, benefits, and context. Then, think about your peers, your children, your father, your mother, your spouse, and your least privileged stratum of the Malaysian society who will bear the brunt of your proposed policy. Be as real as possible, don’t treat this as a simulation, and take it seriously. Who knows, Parliament may be listening.
I wish you well and my sincerest thank you for your service to Malaysia, in some small ways.
1st MPPC Project Director