NEP and brain-drain of accountants

by C H Tan

Can you also address the brain drain within the accounting profession?

We witness in recent years unprecedented outflow of qualified accountants to cities such as New York, Hong Kong, London, Shanghai, San Francisco, etc. This has exarcebated the already-bad-enough exodus across the Causeway. My take is that the main pull factor is the remuneration within the profession in these cities, but I can’t help to think that these opportunities to venture abroad and leave Malaysia (plus the NEP of course) are too good to turn down.

I know most of these beancounters, myself included, have to foresake family and friends in Malaysia for a better career prospect, not only for themselves, but for their children, and children’s children.

Personally, I have lived through the system myself. STPM, fighting for a place in the accounting faculty in University of Malaya, racial polarisation in residential colleges, etc. I have witnessed that at least a good 50% of my fellow coursemates who have packed their backs and moved abroad for a better pay package and hopefully a better quality of life too.

Nonetheless, there is a general consensus amongst us that we still long for a place call home. Being born and bred this country, there is no other cities and country closer to our hearts than our respective hometowns and Malaysia herself.

I will honestly think twice before making a move back when the time comes. This begs the question – what is in store back home? Putting my hand on heart, besides family and childhood friends (friends of all races, contrary to the situation in national schools these days), I can’t see myself calling it a day out here and move back.

There are lots of niggling worries and dilemma that I foresee and fear. Religious freedom. Meritocracy and the ability to compete on equal terms regardless of race. Barbaric politicians overzealously playing the racial cards in the house of parliament with no consideration for long-term nation building. To name a few.

Ultimately, my quandary is simple – finding a place to call home for Malaysians of all races. The only place that I have lived long enough and come to know is Malaysia. Sadly, even at this moment as I am reflecting on the current situation back home, I can’t bring myself to tell the world that I am Malaysian and be truly proud of it.

  1. #1 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 7:37 am

    Do you think you would fit into the category of non-citizens with “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts and education, business or athletics”, are professors or researchers recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic area, or are managers and executives in multinational corporations?

    If you do please contact Jeffrey who then will contact me. My fee is US$3k only.

  2. #2 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 7:38 am


    The above does not include the cost of Jeffrey’s services.

  3. #3 by Libra2 on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 8:22 am

    Wow, that’s good news for UMNO. They will jump in glee that you fellows are leaving the country so that they have the whole country to themselves – of course with all the dry oil wells and empty government coffers and increasing crime rate.
    They can have Malay Dominance, NEP and an Islamic State and the entire Executive to themselves and remain a third world country till eternity.
    And sent a second space traveller to Mars to boot.

  4. #4 by K S Ong on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 8:35 am

    Accountants literate in Chinese are in huge demand in booming China. I remember having read about 2 professional accountants with booming business there.

    Logically, companies having businesses in China are likely to send their Chinese literate accountants to oversea their operations. Those not literate in Chinese are likely to be across the causeway in Singapore and many in UK and Australia. The resulting vacuum cannot be underestimated but can only be felt in terms of overworked staff and poor quality of work.

    My sister’s son is now working in Shanghai for a Malaysian Plc. His wife is working in KL. Recently, his house was burgled even though it was a gated housing scheme. He was lucky the burglar came through the bathroom window and left through it without waking up the occupants who included his wife and their two toddlers, his father and a Filipino maid.

    I have come to the conclusion that generally, if our children are now working overseas and if they found the conditions suitable, then migration should be considered. It may seem defeatist but I have thought about our grandparents who came from China and stayed here. Perhaps it is time to move on. Being a father, do you think I like the idea of being separated from my children?

  5. #5 by sotong on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 8:50 am

    There is no stopping this brain drain of our country’s most important resources – INDIVIDUALS with plenty of energy, skills, knowledge and experience.

    For decades nothing is done to capitalise on these energy and resources to build a strong and competitive economy to create real, permanent, satisfying and rewarding jobs for our people.

  6. #6 by Jimm on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 8:57 am

    It’s in the government plan to ‘minus out’ those brains from their system as they can only be mighty hwne those less ‘adventure’ Malaysian that depending on government to feed.
    Myself, was one of those in the late 70s that went through the cleansing program too. Being a top student for the school, I did not passed my SPM due to BM and my headmistress were truly shocked that I failed my BM paper back then. Why ? Because I was the secondth highest scorer for BM papers through out my school terms even when I recalled back my questions for that year, I knew I should have passed with A2. However, we all knew the policy back then and I did resit again just to get P7.
    Actually, I was truly sadden back then and went abroad to further studies. Come to think of it, it’s a blessing to as I have seen more than those friends of mine that stay back and get ‘groomed’ by our government system.
    Most of them are with the government bodies holding quite high post and earning enough, however, they still contended to things given or provided by government.
    Me, today … nothing changes as what I experienced in the 70s are still widely ‘seen’ in todays context.
    This world is big enough for everyone.
    This country will withstand all challenges thrown to her and she will protect her people all the way.
    What the UMNO have been doing for those ‘unfortunate’ Malaysian are actually bringing all these Malaysian together in one mind and soul to keep the country ‘alive’ eventhough they are living elsewhere around the globe.
    What I like about UMNO today are their own ‘evil’ workings of the past are beginning to chew them up pieces by pieces daily. They have entirely no values or morale standings to pass on to their next generations. Their so-called leaders are actually breed from another race that happens to donned their names to be as Ketuanan. These leaders have hidden objectives that are reaping off the Ketuanan wealth without anyone from the Ketuanan realizing their means.
    We all come to this earth without anything and will leave the same way too.

  7. #7 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 8:57 am

    Does anyone think they really care about losing accountants in this country? My due respect to the profession and the hard work they put in, its nonsense to think they would really care about bean counters when they do not care to count the beans correctly in the first place.

    Sometimes non-bumi in this country deserve to be kicked in the ass for being apathetic and self-import.

    Those who still live with the illusion that most bumis in this country feel strongly for a larger interest than themselves are idiots. This country is fragmented period. Its covered up, but its fragmented. Not only is ‘the other race’ strangers to us, the next door neigbour and even our relatives are strangers to us.

    Its fine for those who want to stay and fight for what is right but if you don’t want to fight and self-interest is mostly what you are which most of us are, then its nonsense to talk about not leaving for sentimental reason.

    I am willing to bet if you make a poll of non-bumis making less than 5000 RM per month if they would leave if offered, at least 80% would (20% is mostly confused about other priorities and not because they don’t want to).

  8. #8 by pulau_sibu on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 9:16 am

    Brain drain? no. The politicians do not want to drain out. They love the boleh political system and we can attract them to overstay

  9. #9 by oknyua on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 9:28 am

    Mr Tan, I don’t know what your age is. My experience in banking and investment banking revealed a rather imited market in Malaysia, or otherwise, the fees are ridiculous (remember the Transmile case?).

    We are getting global, so by all means go somewhere. Unfortunately I think UK isn’t a place to practice. Just next door to me is a London-qualfied ACCA who had spent 15 years there. Discriminantion against non-white, there is, except it is not a legislature. By the way, that’s the advice I give to my children.

  10. #10 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 9:31 am

    “..//..The above does not include the cost of Jeffrey’s services…//..” – Undergrad2

    I’ll charge for services including advice on how to emulate some accountants doing very well in Malaysia that I know. Let me see. Don’t talk about those in big five. (Partners who retired even from Arthur Andersen brought down by Enron had handsome paid offs).

    But the ones who made plenty of money are in the corporations, listed companies and even merchant banks. One successful investment/merchant I know pays as much as 15 months – 20 months bonus to your finance/accounting trained executives. Another one made RM15 million at age of 28 and never worked since then. (He was privy to knowledge about some big injection of asset into a distressed company. He bought many shares from the tired shareholders at 20 sen. When the injection of asset was completed, company was floated on main board KLSE he sold the shares of RM2-00 a piece).

    Then of course there are others downright unethical with no corporate governance : they not only get kickbacks from deals made with their companies in which they hold senior position, they even manipulated accounts and did creative accounting, gloss over fictitious invoices, created false turn over to shore the financial position of companies to bull shit fund managers and investors/placees and if fund (read fun managers) are not giving a god write up on their company’s shares, take them all expense paid trip to visit plants and subsidiaries from China to Uzbekistan with women thrown in as part of package. Of course some got caught and charged by Securities Commission and the majority (over 95%) never got caught but got rich, able to send the children to Down Under to study and stay in properties purchased by them (taking money out is to hedge sovereign risks here). This is not counting accountants who are advisors, partners and share proxies of politicians who need help in advice, and someone to hold their shares as proxy, to do calculations (projections and cash flow forecast for them, to interface with banks, regulatory authorities fund managers merchant banks and stock brokers in respect of their (politicians’) multi million privatized and concessionaire contracts farmed out to them for their political loyalties and support. They are all doing extremely well, and they are appointing their own tiers of proxies (accountants lawyers whatever) to do their dirty and dangerous work (for politicians) just in case regulatory authorities catch up. Look at how many people at the helm of our corporations, listed or not listed, making lots of money or losses that are managed and controlled at the top by accountants! Even if their companies are making losses, they are personally rich from plundering these companies.

    Yesserie, most accountants I know are rich – those struggling are small accounting firms with services on tax submissions. All are however railing against the BN government and its shortcomings but that does not stop them from feathering their bountiful nests here. :)

  11. #11 by megaman on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 9:47 am

    Hi oknyua,

    Discrimination is everywhere … in every country, developed or undeveloped or developing …

    But I think what saddens most non-bumis especially the professionals is that as citizens we are discriminated against on own soil.

    Makes more sense to be discriminated as a foreigner in a foreign country in order to earn more than to be treated as second-class citizen in your own.

    Just my two cents.

  12. #12 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 9:56 am

    What megaman says is true. Although non-bumis are angry being discriminated against inb own country, many have also work around the system and benefited substantially from it (as I pointed out in my post not yet appearing at this moment here).

  13. #13 by Daniel Quah on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 9:58 am

    Brain Drain for non-Bumi…? yeah.. like what my lecturer always told me..if u are a boss will u hire a person that have more intelligent than you? the answer is NO..cause in future he may step over you and he become your boss UMNO is fil half-past six, if u act stupid..u may survive…if u act smart…KELUAR DARI MALAYSIA!!

  14. #14 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 10:00 am

    Brain drain – Why people still insist to use this term puzzles me, because drain to who or which party? – or movement of people in this globalized world is a common phenomenon. In fact, the entire human race and civilizatin has been based on human mobility.

    “Go West!” or “Go to Nanyang!”

    Thanks to the NEP in Malaysia, countless non-Malay families are under pressure to adapt and survive, a key feature in evolution, otherwise non-Malays too will be happily sitting under durian trees and waiting for the fruits to drop down, makan angin and makan free food.

    It’s a good thing that people who have skills and knowledge, whether accountancy or any other discipline, should explore opportunities outside Malaysia to gain better employments and living and working conditions. It’s nothing wrong and not antinational to do so, especially if you want to be a high net worth person.

    The nation as we know has certainly changed compared to what it was in 1957. Many things have changed and they all ensure that the nation is and will be firmly under the rule of Umno, that represents certain percentage of Malays.

    Yes, some non-Malays and Malays want to change the political scenario for the better. However, this effort is realistically, at best, just a dream and they can continue to dream the impossible dream.

    All of us here on this blog are just making some inconsequential comments, that hardly touched the lives of 100 or 1000 voters.

    We owe it to ourselves and our children and our children’s children to follow waht Mr Fagin (Oliver!) said: “I’m reviewing the situation.”

  15. #15 by Filibuster on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 10:08 am

    boh-liao Says:

    “Brain drain – Why people still insist to use this term puzzles me, because drain to who or which party? – or movement of people in this globalized world is a common phenomenon. In fact, the entire human race and civilizatin has been based on human mobility.”

    I’d think that brain drain is used in the context of a country – wouldn’t migration of talent to other countries be a “negative” (drain) to the country’s talent (brain) pool? You are right in the fact that we are based on mobility – eventually we want to be in the best position for success.

  16. #16 by lupus on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 10:19 am

    I seen a few GLC around that just when next door to hire more engineerings and beancounters to fill in those empty positions. It a way to get rid of certain types of people and replacing them with another type.

  17. #17 by toyolbuster on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 10:24 am

    This is exactly what UMNO had hoped for and worked for. To rid of all non-malays intellectuals so that they “tidak akan dicabar”. For “brains” to manage the country, they can always hire foreign expertise who are most willing to come. With such arrangement, they can control the inflow and outflow of such hired help, as and when they wish for. Thats what they have learned from Singapore. Mentor Lee does not have any challengers anymore. All have been TERMINATED, and non will BE BACK. Also same dirty tactics as practised by many employers, so-called constructive dismissal. They do wish that you get out cos they don’t want your votes.

  18. #18 by oknyua on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 10:28 am

    You are right, megaman.

  19. #19 by oknyua on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 10:32 am

    Megaman, my wife (gov’t servant) had just returned from Singapore. Helping her was a Singaporean Malay. My wife asked “How is it like being a Malay in Singapore?”

    His answer: “How is like being a non-Malay in Malaysia?”

  20. #20 by HJ Angus on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 10:35 am

    For those who find it too difficult to cut ties to Malaysia, Singapore offers a good choice.

    Work in Singapore, earn big bucks as accountants but make sure you return to vote.

    Last weekend I attended a wedding of a family friend from Ipoh. Of his 7 children, 6 were in Singapore.

    Like me, the family considers being a global citizen is nothing exceptional. I think one should not agonise too much about coming or going as far as Malaysia is concerned.

  21. #21 by lbn on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 10:46 am

    Think clearly. Think rationally! A Country and A Government are 2 different entities. To many of us who are here for many generations, Malaysia is our HOME. We have to stake our rights. Don’t let anyone drive you away from your home. And don’t just give it away just like that. Just because we don’t like the government, is that a reason we should give up our home! The likes of them would wish just that. Don’t fall into their trap.

    Make the best use of our rights to vote!

  22. #22 by ngahc on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 11:04 am

    Yes, a lot of highly successful Malaysians feel very insecure in this country. They feel like being marginalised as pointed out by LKY. However, we must respect those who stayed back in this country to fight for a better future for their children. Uncle LKS is one of the Malaysians who fight for a better Malaysia. I do hope that we have more professional stay back and fight for our rights.

    High skills individual is in great demand in many countries and highly mobilised as well. They can go anywhere they want. For the majority who are unskilled and non-professional, they are not so mobilise and have no choice but to stay in this country. This group of non-professional will be the one who suffer if no quality leaders fight for their rights.

  23. #23 by sani on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 11:48 am

    Yes, discrimination is every where. But do differential between disriminating people to people + institutionalizing the act. The 1st catagory is like a football match + majority of the crowd don’t like you. The second kind is like you are not allow to score goals.

    Like i said, discrimination is every where. But Singaporean Malays are the most progressive Malays in the world. They had a Head of state whom is a Malay. Do we?

    Like Lee Kuan Yew once said, “Crawl all you like, get out of the way, the rest need to run”. Singaporean Malays prove to the world that, given the motivation, Malays can be as industrial as any one in the world. In Malaysia it is the opposite.

  24. #24 by Godfather on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 11:54 am

    Why do most people reading this blog think that the brain drain of accountants is a big issue ? It is not a big issue for UMNO, which then translates into a small issue for MCA and MIC.

    Go and earn your living where there is meritocracy. Go to Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Australia and make a living. You are the lucky ones where there are plenty of options available. Think about those with little or no option to go elsewhere. These are the people who have, or will need to, learn to work around the NEP system.

  25. #25 by k1980 on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 11:56 am

    Has umno decided to act according to Fagin the Jew’s song? :-
    In this life, one thing counts
    In the bank, large amounts
    I’m afraid these don’t grow on trees,
    You’ve got to pick-a-pocket or two
    You’ve got to pick-a-pocket or two, boys,
    You’ve got to pick-a-pocket or two.

  26. #26 by Zeebra on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 12:05 pm

    Are you guys sure. If all the good accountants is still in the country…… how is the govt going to “HIDE” all their expenses???
    It is a blessing that there isn’t much good accountant in the country that they can pocket all the millions and billions…..

  27. #27 by Traveller on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 12:06 pm

    “If you do please contact Jeffrey who then will contact me. My fee is US$3k only.” – undergrad2
    Are you serious? So, you are an immigration lawyer? Are you trying to get this guy a green card under the national interest waiver category? Ha. Ha. Hey, some lawyers charge US$5K. Is that what this guy’s problem is? That he cannot get a green card?

  28. #28 by sotong on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 12:27 pm

    Institutionalized discrimination is most destructive and damaging to the country…….an individual would feel the whole government and their policies are formulated against you.

  29. #29 by liangyuh on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 12:31 pm

    I am studying for my BS in engineering at the University of Malaya. I am 21 years old. I would like to immigrate to the United States. Does anybody know whether it’s difficult for me to immigrate to the US? I am a girlfriend who is studying to be a chemist at Universiti Sains Malaysia. She will be getting her BS in 2008. We plan to get married next week. I would think that the US would welcome two educated people wholeheartedly. Please let me know. Thank you very much.

  30. #30 by Traveller on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 1:00 pm

    liangyuh, look at the topmost comment by undergrad2.

  31. #31 by passerby on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 1:19 pm

    I don’t believe any amount of yelling and howling will make the government to change. The only way you can make them to change is to deny them the means which they are using to fund the nep.

    The umno knew that as long as there are free money in the system to pay for the nep, why should they care and change? This is not their money; there are all yours. The most ridiculous part is that we are giving all our hard earned money willingly to them to kick our asses and all we did is just whining and posting protest letters on the net!

    Fortunately, there is something which all of you can do without risking yourself or your family is to move whatever money you have overseas or buying overseas shares. By denying them the money, we will see how long they can finance the nep?

    The fun will begin once the pipe runs dry. Let them run all over the place to raise money to pay to the mara scholars and other creditors like they did before. If you haven’t been in a company on the verge of going under, you will never know the strain and pressure the owner is undergoing. It is not funny owning a company with creditors on your back all the time.

    I say let them have the fun and move all our hard earned money out!

  32. #32 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 1:29 pm

    liangyuh – What kind of degree is BS in engineering at UM? Are you bull-shitting us? Doesn’t UM award BE for engineering grads? Furthermore, “I am a girlfriend who is ……”!?

    Like this how to go to the US?

  33. #33 by tsn on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 1:39 pm

    So far I know the processing of US green card is only up to applications lodged before 2004, unless you are an applicant with specialty such as Angelina Jolin or lprospective Nobel prize winners, you are highly unlikely to get one.

    A reliable migration lawyer in Sri Hartamas, K.L only charges RM7-8K, unfortunately not to Uncle Samuel’s home, but to Uncle Sam’s deputy sheriff-Down under.

  34. #34 by shiver on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 1:56 pm

    liangyuh Says:

    November 20th, 2007 at 12: 31.27
    I am studying for my BS in engineering at the University of Malaya
    hey liangyuh, couldnt help to laugh when i saw that. you know lah, since the drop in our local university standards… just wanna ask.
    you studying@UM meaning BS is for bachelor of science or bullshit?


  35. #35 by lupus on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 2:00 pm

    To liangyuh,
    Forget about the US green card system, it is not that easy and the working visa has a limit as to how many per year is allowed.

    If you want to go to Uncle Sam deputy sheiff-Downunder, do it yourself to avoid the lawyer fee as there is a fee that Downunder charges, similar to Canada and both places are not cheap.

    Again, it a case by case situation. If you are wanting more advice, just ask – in my case, I do not charge.

  36. #36 by Traveller on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 2:00 pm

    “I am studying for my BS in engineering at the University of Malaya. I am 21 years old. I would like to immigrate to the United States. Does anybody know whether it’s difficult for me to immigrate to the US?” – liangyuh
    liangyuh, you should go to this link at Tony Pua/Kian Ming’s blog and read the exchange between a SPM student and Anonymous of 5/11/2007 03:55:00 AM. ( where he explained how to do it by doing gradute study first in the U.S. That is one of the easiest routes and provided you are a good student. You can post more questions there and that Anon may reply.
    If you read the comment by undergrad2 above, you find that it is almost impossible with a B.S. degree.

  37. #37 by Godfather on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 2:22 pm

    BS in Engineering and BS in Chemistry…hmmmm….the degrees that are on offer are indeed strange nowadays.

  38. #38 by sotong on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 3:14 pm

    Countries like China and India are exporting a lot of their professionals overseas, including Accountant.

    Competition for a place in developed countries is very strong…some might not settle comfortably in the new environment.

  39. #39 by sheriff singh on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 3:48 pm

    Liangyuh, you and your girlfriend’s degree would not take you very far in the U.S. as far as I can tell. It is only a BACHELOR’s degree.

    In the US, most professional degrees are obtained at POSTGRADUATE level i.e. Master’s level. And subsequent to that there may be professional entrance examinations as well before you can practice. Consequently, you might have to study for a bit more when you get to the land of the Jolly Green Giant.

    You might have further problems if your studies locally were taken in Bahasa and not English. Also don’t forget the lower ranked and unfamiliar Malaysian degrees.

    However, if you both are at the top of your classes and have a 3.5 or better CGPA, you might, just might attract some interested employers who might train you up.

    So expect more work ahead for the both of you. Your journey has just started.

    If your Ah Kong and/or Ah Ma has got plenty of money, why don’t you enrol for the MBA for Engineers conducted by the University of Manchester in Sunway? It will stand you in good stead before you go overseas. Cost about RM 70k or so I think. (P/s I don’t get any commission for intros.)

    As for the outflow of Accountants, many Malaysian U’s are churning out “Accountants” degree holders who are fully recognised by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA). These are more for the local market as their degrees are not fully recognised overseas, only fully recognised in Malaysia. Sad to say from my experience, many of these “Accounting graduates” are below par but hey, Bolehland recognises them. It is those who have internationally recognised accounting qualifications that are making their move. Some not fully qualified are however moonlighting as qualified Accountants overseas as they are employed by Malaysian companies.

  40. #40 by sheriff singh on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 4:02 pm

    Jeffrey wrote:

    Another one made RM15 million at age of 28 and never worked since then. (He was privy to knowledge about some big injection of asset into a distressed company. He bought many shares from the tired shareholders at 20 sen. When the injection of asset was completed, company was floated on main board KLSE he sold the shares of RM2-00 a piece). ”

    This is a case of insider trading, conflict of interest, using priviledged information, fraud, breach of fiduciary duties, breach of professional practice and ethics, corrupt practices etc etc. and should be reported to the authorities (BNM, SC, Bursa, ACA, Money Laundering) for investigation.

    Do the needful.

    But then, it is common in Bolehland. Also, no one will report this as too “leceh”, “don’t want to get involved”, “no Whistleblower’s Protection Act” and so on.

  41. #41 by HJ Angus on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 4:24 pm

    “BS in Engineering and BS in Chemistry…hmmmm….the degrees that are on offer are indeed strange nowadays”

    Not so strange nowadays.
    I did a B Sc in Mech Eng in the United Kingdom in 1967.

  42. #42 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 4:33 pm

    “Are you serious? So, you are an immigration lawyer? Are you trying to get this guy a green card under the national interest waiver category? Ha. Ha. Hey, some lawyers charge US$5K. Is that what this guy’s problem is? That he cannot get a green card?”

    Traveller, right now I work for an Immigration lawyer. Soon I’ll be one. Now I’m charging only $1k and that too in the course of carrying out “an unauthorized legal practice” (for which I would be prosecuted if Jeffrey here were to report me).

    It looks like you are familiar with the fees attorneys here charge. Yes, immigration appeal attorneys charge US$5k for doing the same work as trial attorneys do per (immigration) case. They charge an additional $500 for every additional court appearance.

    There is nothing like the ‘scale fees’ that lawyers need to adhere to as in Malaysia. This is the ‘land of the free’ – remember? Not that attorneys’ services are free but they are free to charge you anything they want as much as you are free to pay.

    The same goes for accountants.

    But what guy are you talking about??

  43. #43 by oknyua on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 4:43 pm

    Hey guys, leave “liangyuh” alone lah… Cheer up liangyuh, young man. I graduated from the same place too, some 20 years ago. Doing your masters in the US is probably the best short cut. (I need to brush up my English too, you know)

  44. #44 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 4:49 pm

    Thanks for the free referral, Traveller!

    Liangyu, “I am studying for my BS in engineering at the University of Malaya. I am 21 years old. I would like to immigrate to the United States.”

    You must learn never to put anything like BS after your name because it could stand for “bull shit” and you don’t want that!

    Sorry. Liangyu. You do not qualify under the category I mentioned i.e. ““extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts and education, business or athletics”. That is the short answer.

    But there are other ways to qualify to come to the United States. Being a mass murderer is not one of them.

    The shortest way?? For you the shortest way is to forget your girlfriend and find a new one (a U.S. citizen) when you arrive and then get married to her before your tourist or student visa expires. You’ll have a hard time to prove that your marriage is a bona fide one and not a sham marriage – but at least you are qualified to try!

    There you go! Let me know your address so Jeffrey/Traveller could forward my bill to you.

  45. #45 by shaolin on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 5:08 pm

    To Libra2,
    Totally agree to your comments.

    So what should all the Non Malays do?!
    1. To migrate and stay oversea, come back once awhile
    2. To work in Singapore, China …etc and have base/home
    in Malaysia
    3. To compromise and be immuned to the Unfair outcry of
    NEP treatment towards Non Malays??
    4. 1 of The UMNO Annual Meeting Agendas is to create The
    Exodus of All Professional Non Malays so that The Malays
    can take up all the Top seats of Every Organization
    5. Please read the latest edition of Dr. Koh Ka Soon –
    ‘Uncode/Secret of May 13 Massacre, 1969’

  46. #46 by Godfather on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 5:18 pm

    HJ Angus:

    I respectfully submit that B Sc and BS are two different things.

  47. #47 by MST on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 5:26 pm

    Liangyu, its easier to come to Australia. Oz is looking for skill migrants. The pay for a fresh graduate is at least A$50K per year- 50K to 70K. Most student apply for PR after completing their study in Oz Us here. You can apply for 457 VISA (under skill migration). Oz is much better than UK or US because its safer and closer to Malaysia.I have live and worked in all the countries mention. Go the to your local Australian embassy for more info. Good luck.

  48. #48 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 5:29 pm

    Marriage to a U.S. citizen is the shortest way to qualify for a green card (another term for LPR or legal permanent resident). You then have to wait for 3 years instead of the usual 5 years needed to qualify for U.S. citizenship through naturalization.

  49. #49 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 5:34 pm

    Yes, MST is right about Australia. Given the choice I prefer to be in Perth, Australia with an apartment overlooking the Swan River – only a four hour flight back to KL.

    Perth is the same size as Penang and has a Mediterranean climate. What more can anybody ask for? Then there is the famous Nasi Kandar restaurant should you miss Malaysian cuisine.

  50. #50 by HJ Angus on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 5:39 pm

    US of A can be nice if you stay out of the nasty zones in some cities.

    My wife and I were on a trip in LA and we were told not to go to certain areas but I can’t remember which.

    We didn’t go there but we went to a Burger King in another area. The moment we walked in, it didn’t seem right. The food counter was fenced off from the customers and you would be served from behind bars.

    We didn’t order but made a quick retreat after going to the toilets.

  51. #51 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 5:40 pm

    “Hey guys, leave “liangyuh” alone lah… Cheer up liangyuh, young man.” oknyua

    Look, the guy is in love and wants to migrate to the ‘land of the free’ and ‘home of the brave’. We must encourage him, oknyua. After all we are young only once. You and me are but old cocks.

  52. #52 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 5:43 pm

    “My wife and I were on a trip in LA and we were told not to go to certain areas but I can’t remember which.” HJ Angus

    East LA?

  53. #53 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 6:07 pm

    “Nonetheless, there is a general consensus amongst us that we still long for a place call home. Being born and bred this country, there is no other cities and country closer to our hearts than our respective hometowns and Malaysia herself.”

    You are one of many of what I call “off-shore” Malaysians who have carved a future for themselves elsewhere but long to return to Malaysia. Even with all the discrimination I believe – and here I can only speak for myself – Malaysia is still a good place to live in.

  54. #54 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 7:09 pm

    ….//….I believe – and here I can only speak for myself – Malaysia is still a good place to live in…//….” Undergrad2

    Have to agree with you especially the other part about “old cocks” since old cocks likely have experience to know that. :)

  55. #55 by AhPek on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 8:01 pm

    This letter posted by CH TAN has turned out to be rather an entertaining evening for me by commenters.Come on, guys, this young man Liangyuh must have been worried stiff about his future that he plugged up enough courage to write in to seek advice about migration to some green pastures. Whilst giving him advice you are also having a dig at him as well.In any case Liangyuh I think you should take up MST’s suggestion.Australia is a great place to stay, not subjected to extreme weather condition and like what undergrad 2 says Perth is ideal and only a short plane hop away from Malaysia.In your case you have to apply for 457 visa (under skill migration).Better still go to the Australian embassy to find out more about skills that are in demand in Australia.I know for sure if you are a nurse you haven’t got a problem at all in getting in.
    “Malaysia is still a good place to live in.”.Undergrad 2.
    Most interesting and you are not the only one making this comment.Tell me then why are you not in Malaysia?

  56. #56 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 8:18 pm


    I’m not in Malaysia because I am in the U.S.

  57. #57 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 8:19 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  58. #58 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 9:02 pm


    With free Lingam ringtones and all who would not love Malaysia. To find out more go here

  59. #59 by negarawan on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 9:46 pm

    Rather than running away from a problem, we should persevere and work hard at resolving the problem. One good example is LKS himself. He could have migrated if he wanted to anytime, but he choose to stay on to fight a worthy cause. A worthy cause for all Malaysians who still believe in Malaysia.

  60. #60 by BKKKK on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 - 11:50 pm

    CH Tan, you rock! You spoke for many of us who followed the same footstep. Nevertheless, I’m still hopeful that Malaysia BOLEH…slowly but surely!

  61. #61 by Traveller on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 12:07 am

    “It looks like you are familiar with the fees attorneys here charge.” -undergrad2
    I know of people who went through the process because I have been asked to provide affidavits testifying to their expertise to be classified under that program. As for me, I did not have to pay when I got my green card many years ago because my employer paid for the attorney’s fees.

  62. #62 by waterfrontcoolie on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 12:36 am

    Leaders who are all out to ‘sapu’ clean the country have no concern for the ‘unseen’ losses of the country. All the money spent in training our children would be utilized to build the progress of the countries where they would be working. Of course,this is of no consequence to them, they all have a hand in Petronas’ billions!
    By the way, can any one add up all the billions generated by Petronas all these years and where have they all gone to!
    We know that Norway is keeping all their incomes from their oil fields in an account similiar to that of Tamasik for the future of their people. I bet in our case , some could have been spent even b4 the crude is surfaced! By the way ,how is the profit of Petronas accounted for? Is it considered as part of PNB,s income? After all, I don’t think many of us ever have any share of it!

  63. #63 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 12:48 am

    “As for me, I did not have to pay when I got my green card many years ago because my employer paid for the attorney’s fees.” Traveller

    As the Brits say, “You’re one lucky bugger”.

  64. #64 by liangyuh on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 4:20 am

    Thank you very much for all your advice and counsel. I always thought that getting an undergraduate degree in engineering would be my ticket to immigrate overseas. My parents only went through Form 3 for their education and I’m the only one in the family who is studying in the university. (My other brother made it through Form 5 and he’s selling cars for a living.) My father have been selling curry noodle soup and my mother is selling chee cheong fun for a living ever since I was born. Unfortunately they couldn’t afford to send me overseas so I went to the University of Malaya. My education was all in Bahasa Melayu (now Bahasa Malaysia) so my English is not that good. I don’t think I can afford to go to graduate school because I have to support my younger brothers and sisters. I was hoping to graduate and apply for an engineering job in the United States and then bring my parents and brothers and sisters with me once I get settled with my fiancee.

  65. #65 by Traveller on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 6:45 am

    liangyuh, apparently you did not read the discussion at the link that I mentioned above. Because if you have done that you would have known that graduate study in the US does not require money, other than the air fare to go there and the first few months of rent. The question here is whether you are good enough, not whether you have the money.
    That is the problem with youngsters. You don’t listen to constructive suggestions and you don’t plan ahead. U.S. graduate application requires that you pass your TOEFL at above 550; but to receive teaching assistantship you need slightly higher score because you need to teach the labs and tutorials in English. They want to make sure the American students understand you. Then you have to take GRE exam with combined scores of about 1400 for the first two papers. If you have planned ahead, you would have taken extra English courses privately and study for the GRE.
    You would not survive the competition in the US with just the BS from Malaysia. The US does not need ordinary skilled workers. They produce plenty of that themselves. They want experts (eg. scientists, engineers, doctors) and people with extraordinary talents in sports (eg. professional tennis players or golfers like Vijay Singh) and the arts (eg pop singers and actors/actresses like Michelle Yeoh), or those filthy rich with money.
    In order to have diversity, the US also have a green card lottery, which means they just pick randomly from the pool of applicants and give the winner a green card irrespective of his/her qualifications. I know of one such person from a poor Central Asian country who won this green card lottery. He has a PhD in Petroleum Engineering from his country. Guess what he is doing now with a green card in New York city? Working in a gas station. They are many taxi drivers in NY city with degrees. So, even with a green card, you may end up working in a restaurant or driving a taxi. So, the best way is go to graduate school, work hard, and be an expert in something. The other way is what undergrad2 already suggested. The third way is do what the Mexicans are doing.

  66. #66 by liangyuh on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 7:04 am

    Dear Traveller:

    I did read the discussion. My English is not as good as it should be. This is because I studied BM all my life. My BM is very good. I am more comfortable conversing in BM than in English.

    Can you explain to me what the Mexicans are doing? I have to say that I’m not up to the latest news in the US.

    I know of some friends went to the US ten years ago on a holiday. They didn’t come back and they settled in Chicago instead. The husband is working in a Chinese restaurant near Chicago and he’s been sending money home every month to his parents for the past ten years. His wife is cleaning houses for a living. They both have only Form 5 schooling. They now have 3 children (6, 4, and 2 years old) and they are born in the US.

    My friends said that they cannot visit their parents in Malaysia because they wouldn’t be able to get back into the US without a visa. They are waiting for their children to be 18 years old so that they can sponsor them for US citizenship. I thought that they are doing hard labor because they don’t have a college education. I thought for the longest time that having a Bachelor’s degree would be in high demand in the US or anywhere in the world. Thank you very much for the clarification.

  67. #67 by liangyuh on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 7:08 am

    One question for undergrad2:

    Does “extraordinary ability” means getting all A’s in the classes and having good letters of recommendation from my professors?

  68. #68 by tsn on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 7:12 am


    Don’t you get the hidden message of undergrad2, he wants many many Malaysians to envy him to 1/2 death. A typical way wise men show their all rounded experience, views & wisdom.

    Exactly, he should be back or at least having a definite date of return, so that Uncle Lim could plan his retirement. Eventhough Uncle Lim is still full of stamina, but if there is a good successor, high time for him to slow down. Do not wait till our loose canon MP shouted at Uncle Lim ” see, you are a trouble maker that why god punishes you to be an old cock.”

  69. #69 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 8:45 am

    “….//….Guess what he is doing now with a green card in New York city? Working in a gas station. They are many taxi drivers in NY city with degrees….//..” – Traveller

    “Discrimination against non-white, there is, except it is not a legislature” –oknyua

    I’ve got a relative with PHD from Cornell University who preferred to return and has worked for many years now. His reasons: he could spend quality time with his aged parents at the evening of their lives. His future? Well he gets a plum job here in an investment bank, earns good money, and could afford a relatively high standard of living (good house, car, disposal income, savings etc). He is leveraging that his qualifications here are more appreciated than in the US or UK where the talent pool is astronomically bigger – something like big fish in small pond than small fish in big pond context. Partly in home ground he has advantage of network of friends with whom he could obtain business.

    In a developed western country, the laws on equality will protect you but human nature is such the discrimination – the invisible glass ceiling – still exists camouflaged by politically correct guises and pretext. This is of course a general statement not intended to apply to exceptional people whose ability and social skills are so exceptional that they break through the barrier.

    You see there the discrimination is more of the nature that you’re not that good unless proven otherwise whereas here the presumption is that you’re to god and that is why you are feared and should be denied opportunities!

    But even here with so called corruption abound in government and private sectors there is still a need for hardworking and talented people even if one argues it is keep the moribund system afloat, and many non bumiputras with correct network and some talent have made a lot of money here – often in collaboration with Bumis with links to power or their cronies – if they don’t get too worked up by the politics here.

    For one thing as what Sheriff Singh says, the enforcement part of corporate governance and even tax is comparatively lax and random so many could make their money (not necessarily breaking the law blatantly or committing fraud) but skating on the edge of the rules, taking advantage of their ambiguities and generally circumventing the system so to speak.

    The view of these people is pragmatic. They evaluate their own circumstances and the place in which they make a living – where best for the moment maximizes opportunities to make money and accumulate their financial nest with abundance of which they can send their children to any part of the world to study (they don’t need emigration to do this) and the world (not necessarily the US UK or Australia) is their oyster, and they don’t particularly mind Malaysia being home provided that they can take extended leave elsewhere whenever they are fed up with the politics and economics here – and without which wherever else, even with a Green card is a cruel and difficult struggle.

    This approach will not apply to the young with qualifications and calling that may only be utilised in developed countries. Whatever the balance of pros and cons, if you’re young you may have time to adapt in new country and develop skills in the subject of your training and passion. It is after all a Globalised world – one does not have to be confined here. This applies less and less to the older ones who will find it hard to adapt. Ironically if you talk to foreigners who work here (Swiss American, British and Australian etc) these guys actually prefer working and staying in Malaysia than back in their own countries. Then again they have lucrative jobs here and they’re earning expatriate pays enjoying the relatively lower cost of living here that gives them a higher standard of living.

  70. #70 by Traveller on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 9:24 am

    liangyuh, the Mexicans are doing what your friends did. But I was just joking. I don’t recommend you do that. Because life as an illegal immigrant is not easy. You get exploited especially in a big city. It would be worse if the Triads know you are illegal. Don’t ever get involve with the snakeheads. If you do that, you would be asked to be a gangster and kill rival gangsters for a living; and your girl friend would end up as prostitute. This is serious advice. Don’t get involved with snakeheads because you can never pay off the debt.
    If you are still determined to go overseas, try to find a job in Singapore and spend a year or two to learn English seriously in night school. Aim for a TOEFL score of 600 and GRE of at least 1400 and keep practising. You can also try doing a Master in Singapore and go on from there to the US; always remember the scores needed.

  71. #71 by lupus on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 9:57 am

    liangyuh, there is no short-cut in life. Unless you have a silver spoon stuffed down your mouth. Where some of us got where we are oversea in a good paying job / successful business and life is all from hard work. Traveller seems to have good advice for someone like you. Yes, you are young and inexperience but you have an advantage that we do not have – youth. Paying someone to get you where you want to get to may not be the best way and not what you expect.

  72. #72 by Traveller on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 10:09 am

    I agree that life is not easy in a foreign country, especially in the US. Competition is tough and you can see many Chinese Malaysians coming back even with PhDs from top universities. That is why the local universities can hire lecturers even at KL Sentral.
    To work in a foreign land without friends and family and with all the bigotry, one truly needs the “ke ku nai lao” determination. That is the true meaning of “ke ku nai lao”, not Ong Ka Ting’s “ke ku nai lao” which is “screw us somemore, we can tahan”.
    Our current graduates’ inability to communicate in English is an example of how Malaysia’s education system is so screwed up that they don’t have the versatility that older generations enjoyed. In those days, we could study overseas without even thinking about the language issue.

  73. #73 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 10:10 am

    Sorry typo eror – should be “You see there the discrimination is more of the nature that you’re not that good unless proven otherwise whereas here the presumption is that you’re TOO GOOD and that is why you are feared and should be denied opportunities!

  74. #74 by oknyua on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 10:16 am

    Liangyuh, let me write in Malay lah.

    Setiap negara yang mempunyai permikiran (ini tak termasuk Malaysia) memelukan salah satu modal yang disebut sebagai (1) modal harta (asset capital) dan (2) modal perolehan (acquired capital). Apakah modal yang ada pada Liangyuh?

    Undergrad2 menyebut tentang “extraordinary ability” dan ini termasuk dalam modal perolehan. Mendapat ijazah yang cemerlang termasuk dalam modal perolehan. Ini disebut modal permikiran (cognitive). Pandai menguna tanggan pun satu modal yang orang mahu (motive). Pandai masak, pandai bermain bola, semuanya termasuk dalam modal ini.

    Untuk diterima di mana-mana tempat liangyuh harus mempunyai modal yang orang diperlui. Kebanyakkan daripada kita tidak dianugerah dengan modal harta, (saya orang petani dulu), tetapi harta perolehan adalah terbuka kepada yang berusaha.

    Akhirnya, untuk berhijirah ke US, haruslah pandai berbahasa Engrish. Tak ada pilihan.

  75. #75 by sotong on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 10:44 am


    Qualifications in the developed countries do not guarantee you a good paying job and a satisfying life.

    There are many migrants without qualifications and could not speak English but are successful. Migration to developed countries should not be about making money alone……if that’s your aim then you will be better off in underdeveloped or developing countries where there are more opportunity to exploit the systems to enrich yourself.

    Everyone is different eg. most politicians, whether one accept their behaviour and how they accumulate their wealth is any matter, made a lot of money from their career with power and influence.

  76. #76 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 12:11 pm

    Does “extraordinary ability” means getting all A’s in the classes and having good letters of recommendation from my professors?” Liangyuh

    CIS regulations interpret “extraordinary ability” to mean “a level of expertise indicating the individual is one of that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.”

    If you think you’re another Yao Ming, or another Bobby Fisher in the making then you stand a good chance. You could at least try.

    “I thought for the longest time that having a Bachelor’s degree would be in high demand in the US or anywhere in the world.” Liangyuh

    You’re not wrong in thinking so. But if your question is if armed with an engineering degree would it be easier for you to migrate to the U.S. the short answer is “It is a start”. Having said that I do not want to mislead you.

    Getting a first class degree in any field per se and without more, would not qualify you for a green card. But if you are working for a U.S> multinational say in biochemistry you stand a good chance at getting an employment based visa to come to the U.S. An employment based visa is not the same as a green card or permanent resident. Once your work authorization expires which could be in a few years, you will have to leave the U.S. Your work visa is tied to a specific employer and cannot be transferred to another employer.

    We now come to the issue of Labor Certification – yet another way to enter the U.S. Here your U.S. employer must show that there is no American available or willing to do the job that you do. There is a shortage of nurse aides and health workers but you don’t want to do these jobs because they are low paid jobs and involve long hours. Your parents went through a lot so you could get a decent education. Doing menial jobs or low skilled jobs is hardly the way to reward them!

    Your friends who came here about ten years ago did what they could do because they were undocumented workers working without legal authorization and could be deported at a moment’s notice – not so much because they had no skills and only a high school education.. Illegal aliens or undocumented workers as we call them, end up working in restaurants as waiters and waitresses and cooks and cleaners. They lived below the radar so to speak. Many of these jobs are paid in cash and you do not require Social Security Numbers (much like our Identity Card numbers). This is not what you want to do.

    U.S. Congress failed to pass an Immigration Bill recently that would have given your friends a path towards legalization and finally U.S. citizenship. American popular opinion right now is dead set against giving undocumented workers with ‘anchor babies’ (who are U.S. citizens) a pathway towards U.S. citizenship. U.S. Congress is unlikely to visit the issue anytime soon.

    Another way is to seek political asylum here. There was a case of a DAP member who arrived in the U.S. and sought political asylum a few years ago. He claimed political persecution by the BN government for being a DAP member. He was reported to have submitted a letter from a committee member to confirm his membership within the DAP (about which Kit said he had no knowledge of) but the Immigration Judge refused to grant him asylum. Then there is this other case of another Malaysian who said he was being discriminated against and could not find a job back home and sought asylum based on race. He did not meet the statutory definition of ‘refugee’. Then there is yet another case but this was in Canada where a Malay guy sought asylum because of persecution on account of sexual orientation. He was gay. He too failed to prove he was within the United Nations definition of what is a refugee.

    Traveller has talked at length on various aspects of life in the U.S. Jeffrey has given his expert opinon on the fact that Malaysia is still a good place to live in. He spoke of a friend who is an investment banker who is doing well in Malaysia in spite of the discriminatory practices. Their stories are all true.
    “Can you explain to me what the Mexicans are doing? I have to say that I’m not up to the latest news in the US.” Liangyu
    The Mexicans are busy climbing over fences and digging tunnels to cross to the U.S. The U.S. Border Patrols are busy building 12 ft high fences and the Mexicans are busy building their 13 ft high ladder. Let me just say that you do not want to follow them.
    I believe Traveller can do a better job at relating his life experiences in the U.S. for your benefit. Like I said earlier, “He is one lucky bugger”. He didn’t have to dig any tunnel.
    Seriously speaking, the fastest way to qualify for a U.S. citizenship is to marry a U.S. citizen. You get to be a U.S. citizen in three years instead of the five years. I know your girlfriend is going to be mad at me for telling you so. But you are a big boy.

    I’m sorry I’ve not been of much help to you. But you’re young and you have a long way to go. Remember Arnold Zwarzenneger, the present Governor of California? He came to the United States barely able to communicate in English and with a few dollars in his pocket! You can still get a piece of the American dream yet. Do not give up.

  77. #77 by liangyuh on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 12:14 pm

    Dear Traveller,

    You’re right. I am more comfortable speaking BM than English. I struggle writing in English because I think in BM first and then I translate into English.

    I speak BM all the time at Universiti Malaya. If I were to immigrate to an English speaking country, I would have to study English so that I can read and write well in English.

    I am only 21 years old (technically I will be 21 in January 2008) and I am currently exploring life outside of Malaysia. It seems that every Chinese in my graduating year wants to immigrate to the US or the UK or Australia. But it would be very difficult for most of them because they don’t speak English at all.

    Thank you very much for all your advice. I really appreciate it. There are no short cuts in life. I will study hard and hope to get into a graduate school in the US. What’s going to hold me back is my lack of confidence in having a conversation in English.

  78. #78 by sotong on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 12:42 pm

    I suppose ” extraordinary ability ” includes Sothi asking Po kuan for a fight.

    If you are preapred to go as low as this guy, you might be qualified for the category to migrate to US.

  79. #79 by Traveller on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 1:48 pm

    Undergrad2 did a really good job in explaining the current immigration issues in the US and should be required reading for people yearning to go to the US.
    Actually, the path to a green card has been made easier with the national interest waiver category (the category mentioned by undergrad2 in the topmost comment). Under this category, you bypass the labor certification route. If you have a PhD in Science or Engineering with some publications and a specialized job (eg an R&D engineer at IBM, Intel, Motorola, etc., or working in a university) you may be eligible for the national interest waiver category. Although the language describing the category sounds intimidating, it is quite easy to prove if you have scientific publications, a PhD, and a job. But you would also need the help of several professors or experts in the area to write supporting letters or affidavits.
    During my time, just before they introduced this national interest waiver category, it was a bit tougher to get a green card. Everybody had to follow the Labor Certification route. The employer has to prove that he has advertised the job vacancy and that he cannot find an American of similar calibre. The good thing here is that an alien can be hired if no American is better than him and that the salary is not lower (no cheap labor).
    Under the present rules, if you have just a BS or MS, you would not qualify for the national interest waiver, then you have to follow this Labor Certification route and not many employers want to do that for you. The Labor Certification is done by a different govt agency, the Labor Dept., thus contributing to the delay. Once a person gets the Labor Certification, he has to go back to the Immigration Dept (now under Homeland Security) but it is downslope from there onward –everything after that is easy. Athough I have seen people doing the whole thing by themselves, it is better to let a lawyer handles the Labor Certification and the green card. That is where undergrad2 would come in. This is also where you have to be careful and not be conned by an unscrupulous lawyer. If you work for big corporations or universities, they have their own lawyers or they will pay for one.
    One final note — everything is easier if you are physically in the US with a job and an employment-based or H1B visa. This is where being a student in the US gives you an advantage because you are allowed 1 year practical training (that allows you to take any job during that time) after you graduate.

  80. #80 by tsn on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 6:37 pm

    After reading Traveller’s paragraph after paragraph explaination, more confuselah, coupled with undergrad2 old horse opinion Malaysia still still a good place to live, if still mesti cabut, down south Singapore a practical betlah, at least balik kampong just crawl over the crossway, tibalah kampong yang tercinta, taman jagong.

  81. #81 by on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 9:10 pm

    I know many “discriminated” Chinese Malaysians did very well in Bolehland by exploiting NEP system. Many of them are self-made multi-millionaires from local universities or without any degree.

    Just face it, if Malay folks are truly capable under the meritocracy system, most likely Chinese bosses have to “sapu longkang”.

  82. #82 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 9:45 pm

    Hello??? Where is our young friend? His thirst for life and for love are attributes he would need to survive a strange and a competitive environment. He would need them more than any letters he could add to his name.

    Traveller, thanks for arranging for my ‘article’ to be published in the latest issue of The Traveller.

    Tsn, I can understand your frustration and your wish never to ‘tanam jagong’.

    Jeffrey, you understand where I am coming from when I said Malaysia is still a good place to live in – for now at least. When you are forced to leave behind friends and familiy, a job and a six figure salary in a foreign environment may compensate for some of the loss but could never hope to fill the void left in your personal life.

    Why do you think Malaysians return to Malaysia after spending years away? There is this mechanic in my neighborhood in Petaling Jaya who returned from Japan hoping to open his own shop. There is this next door neighbor who returned from years of living in the U.K. and another living in Sweden – both returned. Then there is this local Arnold Zwarzenneger who runs PJ’s Clark Hatch when I left, who returned to Malaysia with his Caucasian wife. Perhaps in his case he’s waiting for his Green Card.

    So you see as they say ‘life is always greener the other side’. This is true whichever side you find yourself in. For those who think they are at the end of their road the moment they get to the ‘other side’, they are about to discover that the ‘other side’ never goes away! It is always green.

  83. #83 by olbaidle on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 10:04 pm

    Everyone is missing the point.

    This is not about who the ruling party is.

    This is not about the state of corporate Malaysia’s standards of corporate governance.

    This is not about how easy it is for professionals to migrate overseas and to obtain a green card.

    This is not about how sneaky accountants can get.

    And this is certainly not about whether an accountant is Malay, Indian, and Chinese.

    Is there a problem within the accounting profession? Is there a ‘brain drain’ that’s threathening the state of corporate Malaysia? Hell yeah! But this is all about remuneration. Dollars and cents. Plain and simple.

    I attribute this ‘brain drain’ to economic forces not within our immediate and present control. When someone is valued more favorably in a different jurisdiction, that someone will by virtue of his natural instincts , seek out those who treasure and value their worth more. This is the most basic and primal instinct in all of God’s creatures. Birds, insects, mammals, all seek refuge from the negative elements within their environment. And this includes seeking out food, water, and shelter. Being more advanced creatures, our needs are of course more advanced (one does not need to justify this position by delving into Maslow’s hierarchy of needs).

    Being an accountant below 40 myself, I foresee an industry skill vaccuum looming over the 5-10 year horizon ceteris paribus. The individuals that have been charged with overseeing the welfare of the local accountants (i.e. Malaysian Institute of Accountants) are unfortunately senior accountants (most if not all are 50 years old and above) who are at the twilight of their careers, and as such are suffering from severe myopia inflicted through their personal experiences of the past 10-20 years. Malaysia has changed. And priorities within the profession have changed as a consequence. But sad to say, those in office do not recognize these priorities, but are instead sidetracked by other issues such as whether . They apply general principles of doing business and are so strongly instituted within traditionalism that they believe that free market forces will correct every problem in time. Little do they know that they are doing the profession a grave injustice.

    How do we retain our accountants? We pay them sufficiently well. How can we pay them sufficiently well? We regulate fees that corporations pay for services. Right now, every other accountant in town is trying to survive. How? By undercutting each other to secure the next engagement. Professional pride is diminishing, as quickly as the fee base that the accountants are standing on. Stop the undercutting, set reasonable fees that fuel training and development programs, that encourage achieving mastery within the profession, and the brain drain will stop. How do we do this? By first not accepting defeat by taking the view that it cannot be done. Do not tell me that the lawyers, architects, or engineers have tried, but have failed. It is not the failure which should stop us from taking this bold step, but the processes that led to failure that we should learn from in ensuring success. And ultimately, the blossoming of the accounting profession.

    Yes the cost of doing business in the country may be higher for now, but this is necessary for the survival of the accounting profession in the country. And the MIA council needs to recognize this, together with the Ministry of Finance, and implement a systematic monitoring and enforcement system. A new body would need to be in place to make this happen, and assigning strict performance measures an absolute must to ensure accountability.

    Most younger accountants that have not moved out of the country are only still around for the sake of family (and perhaps friends). With time, as these accountants, and their families mature and move on with age, and coupled with the social instability perpetuated by the radically inequitable and unjust systems and processes established through the legacy of prejudices, they will inevitably leave for greener pastures.

    I have raised this to the MIA council, but in their infinitely arrogant and misguided wisdom, they have scoffed at and brushed aside my suggestions. I can tell you this – many like minded accountants within my age group are in agreement with me. Many see the dangers that present themselves in the laissez faire attitude employed by the regulators. And many are ready to make changes. But we need a platform that at least encourages us to do so. If not, then to listen to us and execute.

    We are after all, the future of Malaysia.

  84. #84 by shaolin on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 - 11:26 pm

    Pls wait a minute. Wong Ka Ting and AAB still need your
    service in the government sectors??!! Pls read on…

    I still remember vividly AAB said few months ago that even
    Malays also do not have chances to work in the govern-
    ment, he indirectly tells the Non Malays off Not to have
    any hope to work in the government sector and it is 100%
    for the Ketuanan Melayu only!! AAB only takes care of 1
    particular race.. the Malays!! He is Not peoples’ PM but
    only for 1 race.

    Now Wong Ka Ting suddenly says that All the Chinese and
    other Non Malays have first preference to be employed and
    be absorbed into the government sectors where no Non
    Malays are in the payroll…!!

    Wong Ka Ting, stop talking nonsense and talking cock!!
    Your talk is just a government propoganda when GE is
    drawing nearer.

    You are a Great Liar!! We Chinese have 27% of total popu-
    lation so we DEMAND for 27% job opportunity in All the
    Government Sectors(Quota System)

    Can you assure and guarantee us in Black n White(docu-
    mented) that All Chinese can now have 27% participation
    in All government jobs??!!

    If you cannot promise us, you better suck….!!

  85. #85 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 5:22 am

    “If you have a PhD in Science or Engineering with some publications and a specialized job (eg an R&D engineer at IBM, Intel, Motorola, etc., or working in a university) you may be eligible for the national interest waiver category.” Traveller

    Dear Liangyuh,

    This above that Traveller refers to is called the H-1B Visa. You can bring your spouse along with you and she will be given work authorization during your stay here. If you are still a free spirit like those floating around on Halloween, it would be even easier. Just grab the first damsel in distress who comes along but make sure she is a U.S> citizen. What do you do?? You marry her of course! Otherwise, you have the next seven years to find one before they kick you out.

    The other is the H-2B visa. You have to be a non-agricultural worker offering services that no American is willing to offer or can be found so he or she could offer the employer – like walking a world war veteran who is unable to remember which world war he fought in, or wash a Alzheimer stricken woman who is in the habit of showing her body off to you thinking you were her dead husband. But you must say you have only a high school diploma. Over here high school leavers are referred to as graduates i.e. high school graduates. Big deal!

    However under H-2B visa, you could only stay for a year and if extended you could stay for three years – max!. Since this involves the notoriously slow Department of Labor, somehow it works to your favor.

    Yet another would be the H-2A visa. And here you would have to pick tomatoes, apples and other agricultural produce for a short period. Mexicans who fail to get these visas have been kept busy digging tunnels; and U.S. border patrols and the Minutemen busy looking for them. Keep away from the Minutemen because they are KKK members working overtime or rednecks like John Wayne the movie actor long deceased. Few knew John Wayne as a redneck. Thanks to the magic of Hollywood.

    These are some of the ways to come to the U.S. legally. Once here you may choose to break the law. That’s up to you. But you are eligible for a driver license and that’s important. The U.S. is the only country in the world where people from all over world come for a driver license not to drive but to do other things but drive – like work, cash a check, buy liquor or most recently enter a federal government building.

    When you see long lines of people at the DMV (short for Department of Motor Vehicle – not a government department but a private agency) looking all stressed up, it is not because they are anxious to know if they have the necessary driving skills needed to negotiate America’s treacherous roads but concerned they may not have enough points to be issued with a driver license or DL. Without a DL you cannot open a bank account, cash your girlfriend’s check, buy Chivas Regal or Tia Maria for her or lick Tequila off your palm on birthdays and Christmas. One thing you can do though without a DL is buy turkey for Thanksgiving Day which incidentally is tomorrow. That you do not need a DL.

    So Happy Thanksgiving to all turkey lovers!

  86. #86 by tsn on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 8:20 am


    No doubt at all to have a fair share of Non-bumis in public sector is very important & beneficial. But right now the die standing fact is our public sector is as big as 9 months twins pregnant mother’s protruding stomach. Before even manage to senyum kamping like MonaLisa, stop short when the following questions flicking up:

    -How many more can they take in?
    -In what level?
    -Equal promotion opportunities?
    -Remuneration adjustments to keep pace with scary inflation.
    -Chilly number of Malays unemployed graduates waiting for Ah Kong to retrain & locate.
    -With longer life span, maybe we should push up the official retirment age to 60/65 years, save pension payments too.

    Unless it is really desperate & no choice, most of the non-bumis especially Chinese will lari kuat-kuat away from government employment. Probably government sector now is just like Shaolin temples, all this while closed for females, eventhough now is widely opened up for females to learn kungfu, no sensible parents will encourage theirs’ daughters to join. What for? Hard core poor live is waiting for you. Ah May & Ah Eng decided to grab the opportunity because they think they have potential to be female version of Jet Li.

    Not suprise at all, our oversea graduated DPM already with a good idea how to solve the problem of bumi unemployed graduates. We are opening up public sector to all races, now Ong Ka Ting it is your responsibility to push the Chinese employers to employ more bumi graduates, I don’t care how you do it, but make sure you do it. Die.

    To have an efficient government machinery, a good remuneration package compatible with private sector is a prime force to attract bright & capable candidates. With a bloated sector it is quite impossible to offer something like Singapore.

  87. #87 by Traveller on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 10:32 am

    Undergrad2 has described somewhat comically, life of migrant workers at the low end of the social ladder in the US. It is unromantic and scary, but pay is still good; otherwise we wouldn’t have the problems of the Mexicans tunnelling under the border.
    It is true that driver license is used like the IC in Malaysia. That is the first thing to get because showing your passport in the grocery stores would make you look like a “sua ku”.
    Malaysiakini just reported that Chinese Malaysian is the largest group that gave up their citizenships. So, if YB Lim starts a discussion on that, we can continue arguing about immigration.
    Meantime, happy Thanksgiving to undergrad2 and all Malaysians in the US.

  88. #88 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 11:49 am

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Traveller!

    It is funny the President of the United States granted amnesty to the 60th turkey just yesterday but the U.S. Congress refused to grant amnesty to undocumented workers who have been working their butts off for the last 20 years!

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