Malaysia’s brain drain getting worse, says World Bank

By Lee Wei Lian
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 28, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — World Bank senior economist Philip Schellekens painted a gloomy picture of the Malaysian brain drain situation today saying that it not only grew rapidly but is likely to intensify, further eroding the country’s already narrow skills base.

Schellekens said that the number of skilled Malaysians living abroad has tripled in the last two decades with two out of every 10 Malaysians with tertiary education opting to leave for either OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries or Singapore.

“Brain drain from Malaysia is likely to intensify in the absence of mitigating actions,” he said at the launch of the World Bank report titled “Malaysia Economic Monitor: Brain Drain”.

The report defined brain drain as the outflow of those with tertiary-level education.

The economist said Malaysian migration was increasingly becoming a skills migration with one-third of the one million-strong Malaysian diaspora now consisting of the tertiary educated.

“Expect the trend to continue,” he said.

He added that the outflow of talent was not being replaced with inflows, thus damaging the quality of Malaysia’s “narrow” skills base, noting that 60 per cent of immigration into Malaysia had only primary education or less, even as the number of skilled expatriates declined by 25 per cent since 2004.

The report also noted that there was a geographic and ethnic component to the brain drain, with about 88 per cent of the Malaysian diaspora in Singapore being of ethnic Chinese origin.

“The numbers for US and Australia are similar,” said Schellekens.

Report figures also show that 54 per cent of the Malaysian brain drain went to Singapore while 15 per cent went to Australia, 10 per cent to the US and 5 per cent to the UK.

The top three drivers for brain drain identified by the report were career prospects, compensation and social justice.

“(Lack of) Meritocracy and unequal access to scholarships are significant push factors and a deterrent to coming back,” said Schellekens. “Non-Bumiputeras are over-represented in the brain drain.”

He suggested that Malaysia implement important structural reforms in tandem with introducing targeted measures such as income tax incentives to reverse the brain drain.

“Once the highway is built, you must compete for traffic,” he said. “One suggestion is to hold a competition among members of the diaspora to get ideas on what can be done to attract them home.”

He added that while this report estimated the Malaysian diaspora at one million compared with about 1.4 million in a previous World Bank report, it was due to the lack of Singapore government information on the breakdown of its non-resident population.

“This is a conservative estimate and the diaspora could well be larger,” he said.

  1. #1 by ChinNA on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 8:22 am

    Well, the government is aware of it and they are already working very hard to attract back about 10% (r less) of the targeted desired diaspora to return to Malaysia.

    With all the nation-building activities, I am sure the targeted diaspora will readily enhance the effectiveness of BN’s nation building agenda.

    I am sure cintanegara will agree with the BN government’s approach. Therefore according to BN, it is better to get the right people back than to get many people back to Malaysia.

  2. #2 by ChinNA on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 8:26 am

    Anyway, the World Bank’s number are without numbers from Singapore. Therefore, BN can raise the accuracy and legitimacy of this report, as an self-respecting person would.

    There is possibility of Singaporean wanting to migrate to Malaysia as some believes that Malaysia offers a better quality of life.

    So there you have it, with the numbers from Singapore, the legitimacy of this report can be questioned.

    • #3 by ChinNA on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 8:28 am

      Opps typo:
      So there you have it, WITHOUT the numbers from Singapore, the legitimacy of this report can be questioned.

  3. #4 by wanderer on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 8:37 am

    Chinese and Indian pendatangs be grateful that you were given an opportunity to make a living in Bolehland. Dang! I belong to a superior race, much more superior than the Self-claimed Bumis/ketuanan pendatang melayu…do I need to put up with these
    brown skinned creeps?…I call Australia home anytime!

  4. #5 by k1980 on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 8:48 am

    In the 1990s, Malaysia’s economy was ahead of China’s. But now—–

  5. #6 by pulau_sibu on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 8:54 am

    No, we have many great brains around to produce sex videos. As a result, we will soon be world No 1 sex video producer.

    • #7 by Bunch of Suckers on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 10:45 am

      Good shot!

      They tend to keep those suckers who are good at creating Porn Videos than those who expert in building national economy!

      BN/UMNO suckers don’t even give a damn on those talents! They prefer those with primary educations or less so that it is easy to control and win every election to rip off more tax payer’s money into their pockets! Why need World Bank to give them a damn?

      Ha ha ha, instead of Hollywood, we got Bolehlandwood!

  6. #8 by DAP man on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 9:04 am

    Ibrahim Ali and Nazri Aziz will soon propose that Philip Schellekens be barred from entering Malaysia.

    But we still have many ‘brains from the drains’ running the government. They are in UMNO.

  7. #9 by hallo on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 9:25 am

    We should suspect WHY the video was black & white

    The video should be taken over 10/15 years ago

    Color video cam was a norm since last 3/5 years ago

  8. #10 by sheriff singh on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 9:34 am

    Brain drain? What brain drain?

    We have over 30 public universities and maybe an equal number of private universities / colleges churning out tens of thousands of illiterate and incompetent ‘graduates’ every year to replace the losses.

    So we are OK. What does the World Bank know? They are so far away.

    Education in Pornoland is big business and it is not about knowledge, education or quality. You pay money, then write some nonsense and they give you a piece of paper. Simple exchange.

    Everyone can get a degree in Pornoland, maybe even a degree in pornography soon.

    Every household now has a ‘graduate’ or two.

    So no worries. Ignore the World Bank fantasy report.

    p/s I am told that if you get 60 marks in SPM, you get a A+ (super duper distinction). Pass mark can be as low as 20 marks. Any examination marker care to confirm this?

  9. #11 by yhsiew on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 9:34 am

    “1Melayu, 1Bumi” will further hasten outflow of talent.

    Najib’s aspiration of transforming Malaysia into a high-income country remains an elusive dream with such rapid loss of talent.

  10. #12 by hallo on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 9:35 am

    No matter who is it in the video

    This kind of action was backing likely a gov, first started in GOVERNMENT owned hotel

    The government administrator morally drop as deep as the ocean

    We need to vote out these government administrators

  11. #13 by wanderer on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 9:45 am

    Maaysia will soon be a Smart Sex country!…UMNO regime must be feeling pretty proud of this fine achievement. To UMNO elites way of thinking, on needs not have brains in the head…just sex! ….ask
    dirty Bung.

  12. #14 by hallo on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 9:45 am

    The non-Malay have contributed balancing the religion extremist

    Without non-malay, this country maybe like those land in middle-east living a life with ………(hope you can imagine)

    Fighting among each them – ownership, money, power

  13. #15 by hallo on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 9:46 am

    Fighting among them – ownership, money, power

  14. #16 by boh-liao on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 9:55 am

    Another Western propaganda jealous of M’sia’s achievements by smart M’sians
    UmnoB/BN very proud of M’sia’s superior educational system in producing highly motivated n intelligent citizens who hv multilingual ability
    Furthermore, UmnoB/BN provide a racist n oppressive environment 2 toughen d characters n spirit of young M’sians (esp nonMalay) so dat they can survive anywhere in d world n b successful
    Oredi d results r impressive n ppl all over d world can C d successes achieved by smart M’sians
    UmnoB/BN very proud M’sia export intellectual capital 2 d world n M’sian diaspora overseas contribute big fat $$ 2 M’sian economy by sending $$ home 2 their parents or investing in properties in M’sia
    U no believe? Thanks 2 d racist practice of UmnoB/BN, almost every nonMalay family in M’sia has at least 1 child working overseas n sending $$ back 2 d family
    UmnoB/BN very proud M’sia not like many countries dat export low-skilled workers, we export good quality stuff 2 conquer d world, 2 d dismay n jealousy of ppl like Philip Schellekens who fail 2 understand dis wonderful motto “Satu Lagi Projek Kerajaan Barisan Nasional”

  15. #17 by balance88 on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 10:02 am

    This report only confirms what a lot of us already know. No need to look far. Just look at people around us and you will hear lots of migration cases.

    It is pointless for the govt to incentify these overseas brains to come back. Only a short term measure IF they come back. Why not incentify the brains already in the country irregardless of race.

    Govt need to look beyond remuneration to stem the brain drain. Yes, meritocracy and social justices are equally important factors. You can’t think of ways to keep the brains if govt keeps flip flopping on simple issues like teaching Maths & Science in English. Waste of time and years on still no solution.

    In the meantime, countries like Singapore and Australia are already here in our primary and selected secondary schools picking our top talents and offering them scholarships to further their education there. They regularly conduct annual tests at these selected schools to pick them up. FYI – all in Chinese schools!

    And I know of a fair number of students who took up the offers to study there after their UPSR. Perhaps, this will explain why there is not enough inflow of brains!

  16. #18 by tak tahan on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 10:19 am

    Tak tahan:Illicit money outflow + Brain drain=No money + No brain

    Najis:But got many many sex equal the same.

    Tak tahan:Good la good la.Kam siah lu,peabrain

  17. #19 by k1980 on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 11:33 am

    #10 by sheriff singh
    //Pass mark can be as low as 20 marks. Any examination marker care to confirm this?//

    Some years ago, candidates who obtained 14 marks in spm Sejarah were given the P8 grade. Now I dunno, could be still same same

  18. #20 by undertaker888 on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 1:25 pm

    I will not contribute to this country until those evil umno bn regime is gone. overseas friends asked me if Malaysia is good to visit. I told them goto Thailand, Singapore or Indonesia.

    am I non patriotic? no. Those umno and BN turned me into one. so those pokey mucks are more guilty.

  19. #21 by pulau_sibu on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 2:13 pm

    If it was not 1Muhyiddin, 1Najib would not have this job. 1Najib kept saying at that time he continued to support 1Abdullah as prime minister. The problem now is for how long can 1Muhyiddin allow 1Najib to be on this position. It may not be long until he will ask 1Najib to step down (like he asked 1Abdullah to step down)

  20. #22 by burn on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 2:42 pm

    one person use to work in an electronic firm for many years. due to his capabilities, he was well taken care by the head. few “m” seniors wasn’t happy, when he was promoted to senior post to lead. the other seniors start politicking. due to this, he left after getting an offer from another firm in overseas thru headhunters. now he’s earning 5 times more. he was my brother.

  21. #23 by bush on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 4:31 pm

    Their mission have accomplished by sending all the chinese out from the country.

    A good father (country leader) will not do this to their children and try to prevent the brain drain instead of curing it by given the tax incentive….etc:

    Father don’t do the following if they love their children:-

    1) Education-take away their right for scholarship and university place.
    2) Business – take away their right to do business by not renewing their lisence.
    3) Give money to all the monkey by issuing the AP, contracts…….etc.(wastage)

    All the action is deem to be a racist system but they keep taking about chinese taking their wealth.

    Well, lip service like cakap tak serupa bikin is the way to tell the world ‘malaysia Boleh”

  22. #24 by Sallang on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 5:47 pm

    The Chinese word for country is ‘ kuo jia’, meaning ‘my country, my home.’
    Radio MyFM use to say, ‘U kuo, chai U jia’.
    Your country is your home.
    So, if my country is my home, but when my government do not want me, I have to find a new home.

  23. #25 by boh-liao on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 5:50 pm

    NR n UmnoB cried foul n said d kwai lo failed 2 understand d kindness of Umno/BN
    UmnoB did not give NEP n special treatments 2 nonMalay citizens bcos it was 4 their good
    Imagine nonMalays too enjoyed NEP n other special privileges, they would b so contented dat they would sit below durian, coconut n rambutan trees d whole day n wait 4 d fruits 2 drop
    Or bcome mat rempit n bohsia
    They would also b busy conjugating n procreating many little simata sepit n toddy drinkers dat they hv no drive 2 excel n 2 b world beaters
    No, no, dat’s not what UmnoB/BN want fr nonMalay citizens, they want them 2 work hard n 2 b toughened by UmnoB’s racist policy (just like d best steel is hardened n tempered by fire)
    Dis practice is a great success as evidenced by d large number of M’sian diaspora overseas
    NonMalays should b grateful 2 UmnoB/BN 4 treating them special (4 not entitled 2 special NEP)
    OK, 1, 2, 3 – all say KAM SIA 2 UmnoB/BN!

  24. #26 by Winston on Friday, 29 April 2011 - 6:37 pm

    Uncle Lim, there’s one very good reason for the brain drain.
    And the reason is that as more of the brightest are driven
    out of this country by government policies, less of such
    people will be around.
    Those who are left are supposed to be malleable and
    Easy meat for the government.
    But they failed to take into consideration the DAP and
    the PR!

  25. #27 by cemerlang on Saturday, 30 April 2011 - 6:34 am

    Most are Chineses brain drain. We should patent our NC-17 rated films because our patents have been hijacked many times.

  26. #28 by Ray on Saturday, 30 April 2011 - 2:25 pm

    Stop and Look>>>>No Progress >>Malusia had been under 53yrs Umno leadership rule langsung No Progress>>except corrupting TAX PAYERS MONIES and squandering of Billions Ringgits(thro’ Mega projects commissions ) for these morons Umnoputras …there is NO MORE FUTURE for the minority race…all professional career propects were vanished and hardly any jobs created for these minorities citizen …
    Rakyat Malaysia >>Time to wake up >>Only by Voting PR (DAP PKR PAS) into Putrajaya … You will begin to see Reformasi/ Ubah by PR comes the next 13 GE ..
    Rakyat…Please Please
    Vote PR for your Future, Meritocracy ,fair treatment transparent ,efficient and Democrative constitution Government for the good of the Rakyat regardless of Race and religion and also let yr voices heard thro PR in the Parliament ….You are the secret weapons for PR
    No Fear ..>>>Yr Vote Is Secret>>…God’s Soveirgnty Watch ,Guide and leading.

  27. #29 by rockdaboat on Saturday, 30 April 2011 - 3:14 pm

    What brain drain?

    See, we have genius like Datuk T and Ibrahim Ali, hero like Mike Tyson, rare telented actor like CSL, brilliant MACC lawyer like Abdul Razak Musa ………. the list goes on and on.

    What brain drain?

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