Call on Najib to initiate a series of annual International Malaysian Diaspora Conference to coincide with the launch of Tenth Malaysia Plan in June

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is making his first five-day official visit to India next week from 19th to 23rd January.

There are many things Najib can learn from the Indian experience in government reform and transformation, one of which is the just-concluded ninth Pravasi Bharatiya Diswas (BPD-2010) in New Delhi – the annual jamboree of the Indian diaspora organized by the Indian Government to rope in the expertise, money and experience of the 25 million Indians abroad (or non-resident Indians).

Najib had said in Singapore in November that his government would make Malaysia a better place to live and work in to lure back its citizens residing abroad as well as attract global talents to the country.

He told a dinner he hosted for the Malaysian community in Singapore: “We will create more opportunities, more excitement and more buzz in Malaysia to attract the Malaysian diaspora and expatriates to the country.”

Sadly and unfortunately, Najib has not been able to walk the talk and the buzz he had initially created from the expenditure of tens of millions of ringgit in the promotion of the “1Malaysia” campaign by professional publicity agents has fizzled out – the bubbles of “1Malaysia” bursting against hard realities like the adverse international publicity which Malaysia has been suffering since the beginning of the new year as a result of the “Allah” controversy.

Only last night, the Grace Global Prayer Church in Rasah, Seremban became the tenth church to be attacked and the 12th target of vandalism since the Kuala Lumpur High Court judgment on the “Allah” controversy on Dec. 31.

The tweet of Foo Chee Hoe on my twitter last night “How many more churches to vandalize? Don’t they know they are putting their religion to shame instead of defending His name?” is the cry of all sane and rational Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, for an end to the madness since the beginning of the year.

Recently Parliament was informed that in the 18 months from March 2008 to August last year, a total of 304,358 Malaysians left the country for better education, career and business prospects, which works out to some 630 Malaysians leaving the country per day.

If this rate of migration had been kept up, some 400,00 Malaysians would have migrated from March 2008 to the end of last year.

Najib had said in his Singapore speech last November that “in the current challenging world, Malaysia needed the best talents and brains to develop and prosper the country” but it would not be easy to get them because competition was stiff as other countries were also looking for global talents.

However, despite all the publicity about KPIs, NKRAs and Government Transformation Programme, the Najib government has not convinced Malaysians or the Malaysian Diaspora that he meant what he said when he admitted that “without good brains Malaysia could not be considered a knowledge-based or innovation economy”.

All Malaysians must be concerned that instead of engineering a reverse brain drain of Malaysians out in the world, there is an acceleration of migration of Malaysians across-the-board – not just Chinese and Indians but Malays as well, especially with the latest developments arising from the “Allah” controversy.

Why have the “reverse brain-drain” policies of the Eighth and Ninth Malaysia Plans from 2001-2010 failed? Is Najib prepared to issue a White Paper on the reasons for these failures in the past decade?

The government had announced an ambitious “reverse brain drain project” under the Eighth Malaysia Plan, especially in the key fields of information and communications technology, science and technology, manufacturing industries, finance and medicine, to propel Malaysia to transform itself into a K-economy and Information Society through a two-prong strategy, viz:

  • An annual “brain gain” of 5,000 “extraordinary world citizens of extraordinary talent” to “lure the best brains regardless of race and nationality, from Bangalore to California”.

  • Encourage 500 skilled Malaysians overseas every year to return home with their expertise, starting with the 2001 Budget in October 2000 giving incentives of quick approval of permanent resident status for foreign spouses within six months, two-year income tax exemption for income remitted to Malaysia and tax exemption for all personal effects brought into Malaysia, including two motor cars.

  • The government has however very little to show for the “Reverse Brain Drain” programme whether in the Eighth or Ninth Malaysia Plan.

    Najib should initiate a series of annual International Malaysian Diaspora Conference to coincide with the launch of Tenth Malaysia Plan in June to tap, engage and attract back talented, experienced, wealthy and well-connected members of the Malaysian Diaspora as a key strategy to transform the country into a new economic model to become a high income country.

    Is Najib prepared to be as bold and innovative as the Indian Government in tapping into the wealth and resources of the Indian Diaspora?

    At the 3rd Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) in Mumbai in January 2005, the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh announced overseas citizenship for Indians living abroad.

    Under the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) scheme, launched at the 4th PBD in Hyderabad, Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of certain categories are eligible for grant of OCI as long as their home countries allow dual citizenship in some form, but this does not include voting rights or rights to contest in parliamentary elections.

    At the PBD just held in New Delhi earlier this week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has gone one step further, offering non-resident Indians (NRIs) the right to participate in the electoral process.

    Manmohan said: “I recognise the legitimate desire of Indians living abroad to exercise their franchise and to have a say in who governs India. We are working on this issue and I sincerely hope that they will get a chance to vote by the time of the next regular general elections.

    “In fact, I would go a step further and ask why more overseas Indians should not return home to join politics and public life as they are increasingly doing in business and academia.”

    Is Najib prepared to emulate the Indian Prime Minister to think along similar lines to tap into the resources of the Malaysian Diaspora and to engage and attract back talented, experienced, wealthy and well-connected members of the Malaysian Diaspora to effect the transformation of the Malaysian economy into a new model?

  1. #1 by Leong Yook Kong on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 12:21 pm

    How sincere is the government on the provision of skills training to the lowly educated children? I lodged a complaint with JPK on 08-09-2009 and as todate I still have not received an explicit, transparent, complete and conclusive feedback (more than 4 months).

    I humbly wish to advise the intended skills trainees to check the private skills training provider whether it has a valid certificate of accreditation before enrolling for the skills training. Also, check the duration of the skills training. The minimum duration set by JPK is for Level 1 – 6 months, Level 2 – 6 months and Level 3 – 12 months. Those who opt for a higher education, should check the Malaysian Qualifications Register for the programmes and qualifications offered by the Private Higher Education Institutions (IPTS).

    This is the first hand experience that I had encountered. Skills trainees are required to prepare portfolio for SKM P-115 Level 1, 2 & 3.

    While still waiting for the Level 2 and 3 portfolios to be returned to the skills trainees by the private skills training provider, I shall now comment on the Level 1 portfolio which is in hand.

    i) Rekod Penilaian Kumulatif (RPK) SKM P-115 Mekanik Kenderaan Motor, Tahap 1 –
    Accreditation Center Code (LXXXXX) was pre-printed.
    The earliest date of 14.1.08 (backdated before enrollment) was handwritten by the trainee.
    Endorsed by Pegawai Pengesah Dalam, 2 Pegawai Penilai(s), and Pegawai Pengesah Luar (JPK).
    ii) Rekod Penilaian Kumulatif (RPK) – Teori SKM NCS – Core Abilities (Tahap 1) –
    Accreditation Center Code (LXXXXX) was handwritten by the trainee.
    Endorsed by Pegawai Pengesah Dalam, Pegawai Penilai, and Pegawai Pengesah Luar (JPK).

    iii) Penilaian Pretasi – SKM P-115 Tahap 1 –
    An address in Malacca was pre-printed.
    The date of 14.1.08 (backdated before enrollment) was handwritten by the trainee.
    Endorsed by Pegawai Penilai.

    Some of the dates, the Accredited Center Code and the address were falsified in the portfolio papers with the intention to cheat JPK and the stakeholders to cover up the minimum duration of 24 months set by JPK while the actual skills training duration was only 8 months (from 31-03-08 to November 2008). Each Accredited Center is allocated a “unique” Code.

    The SKM P-115 Level 3 portfolio was postdated to 2009 (after skills training ended).

  2. #2 by isahbiazhar on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 12:26 pm

    Najib will not call for any “diaspora”as it would involve the Chinese and the Indians mostly.The few Malays who are outside do not act as Malays but as world citizens.

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 12:42 pm

    Don’t waste time lah, forget M’sian diaspora, think of desperate M’sians
    Who wants 2 come back 2 this land, a paradise lost
    Even ppl who r here r retraining their life skills 2 work in countries with stronger currencies
    Pssst …. Singapore new IR r looking 4 security personnel, Japan n Mid East looking 4 nurses

  4. #4 by Dap man on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 12:47 pm

    “We will create more opportunities, more excitement and more buzz in Malaysia to attract the Malaysian diaspora and expatriates to the country.” Najib

    Yes, we can see the excitement and buzz with the burning of churches and stomping on cow heads.

    Yes, we can see the excitement and buzz about calling us ‘pendatangs’ and yourself Ketuanan Melayu.

    Yes, we see the excitement and buzz about disappearing jet engines and government sanctioned corruption.

    Malaysians please come home and be excited and see the buzz.

  5. #5 by ktteokt on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 12:59 pm

    As long as Malaysia continues to divide its people into BUMIPUTRAS and NON-BUMIPUTRAS while carrying on the NEP with its special rights for these exclusive people, and implementing UNJUST policies, foreigners and Malaysians abroad will never want to step their feet on Malaysian land!

  6. #6 by yhsiew on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 1:05 pm

    There are two factors which cause Malaysians to migrate to other countries, namely the push factor of their home country and the pull factor of the country they are migrating to. The push factor includes discrimination (some section of the populace are treated as second class citizens), curtailment of democratic freedom, a fascist government, a moribund economy etc. The pull factor normally comprises higher wages, better social welfare, better medical care, free education up to tertiary level, a liberal government etc.

    Before attempting to tackle the brain-drain problem, Najib should seriously study the push factor and make the necessary adjustment or fine-tuning in national policies. Whilst it is not easy to tackle the pull-factor, maintaining a strong ringgit will help. Singapore has done well by pursing a strong Sing-dollar policy to prevent brain-drain of its own citizens and to compete with other high-income countries for human talent.

  7. #7 by waterfrontcoolie on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 1:11 pm

    All these proclamations mean nothing when the basic procedures cannot be straigthened up. Until and unless every Gomen servant can be held accountable for his action, all talks will get us nowhere. These little napoleans, b’cos of the last 30 years of Gomen, have held sway over the whole machinery. Those who are sincere enough are all sidelined. Only those who followed the leaders are deemed fit to continue. So all the cheap publicity remains as such. Anyway to those who have already competed and secured their jobs over the last few years; they would deem it unnecessary to return as they have been able to maintain their careers in spite of the downturns overseas. Secondly, based on their income as compared with our ‘low ringgit and high cost of living on basic goods. It is like a prayer to heave. Thirdly with the current insecured environment, it would be suicidal!!

  8. #8 by copperhead on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 1:29 pm

    More buzz like manufacturing the controversy over the Allah word.

  9. #9 by dawsheng on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 1:53 pm

    Each day passed is meaningless in Malaysia and we are only waiting for the next bigger man made disaster. Question, will the “Allah” issue grown out of control where non-muslims will be attack, injured or killed? Answer is yes. When BN government knew they are sure to lose the next general election. The state of emergency can be use to cover up all wrongdoings and perpetuate their corrupt rule.

    Who is the next victim, after Kugan and Teoh Beng Hock?

  10. #10 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 1:56 pm

    PR should go ahead and do this. Organise it and do it in Singapore if you have to.. It may be small but it will be symbolic

  11. #11 by dawsheng on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 2:02 pm

    PR leaders should be wise enough to know that Najib is willing to risk everything to stay on top, this man is very desperate. It is time to give Malaysians a clear picture, should Anwar went to jail, who is going to be the Prime Minister, so on and so on, give us a solid shadow cabinet regardless of whether you are paid. Now or else is too late.

  12. #12 by Leong Yook Kong on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 2:25 pm

    I am very concern over the skills training and development in Malaysia. Maybe it is appropriate to revisit JPK Ketua Penagarah’s answers to my questions #1 – #7 via e-mail on 26-11-2009.

    1. Was the director of the private skills training institution allowed to make a public pledge in the news media (published on 11 February 2008) that “all its courses were certified and accredited by the Malaysian Government” before obtaining approval for accreditation?
    The answer is “tidak boleh”.

    2. Could an institution enroll students to the SKM P-115 Level 1 to 3 programme for admission for 31-03-2008 to November 2008 {8 months} when the validity period of accreditation for Level 1 is 01-09-2008 to 31-08-2011 and Level 2 & 3 is 01-09-2009 to 31-08-2012?
    The answer is “tidak boleh”.

    3. Would JPK allow the institution to falsify the dates (backdated and postdated to make up the period of 24 months) in the 3 levels portfolio to January 2008 to December 2009 to cover up the minimum duration of 24 months set by Malaysian Occupation Skills Qualification for the programme when the skills training were actually done on 31-03-2008 to November 2008 {8months}?
    The answer is “tidak boleh”.

    4. Was the institution permitted to use the code of an accredited center in another state in the portfolio paper?
    The answer is “tidak boleh”.

    5. Was the institution permitted to use the address of another institution in another state in the portfolio paper?
    Your answer is “tidak boleh”.

    6. Can the 3 certificates be recognized? If yes, will JPK issue a testimonial attaching to the certificates certifying the event arising from my questions #3 to #5 is an acceptable practice and standard to the affected students?
    The answer is “tidak boleh”.

    7. If these 3 certificates are useless pieces of paper, what is the best option available to the students who studied the programme?
    The answer is “Institusi lantihan menyediakan program latihan tambahan dan mengaturkan sesi ujian bagi menentukan ketrampilan pelatih sebelum SKM dikeluarkan”.

    The Level 3 final exam was held on 13 to 15 of January 2010. By holding the exam, was it contradictory to the answer to question #7 without the additional training given to the trainees? Why was there such a rush now when the programme was already completed in November 2008?

    Obtaining the 3 certificates not within the legislative framework, does JPK wants the exploited holders to tell resume and curriculum vitae lies for the rest of their working lives? Is it a commitment and guarantee by JPK to all stakeholders in skills training & development, viz. students, parents, employers, etc. that the programmes accredited by JPK are quality-assured?

  13. #13 by boh-liao on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 2:42 pm

    Obviously NR still does not know d issue Y ppl left M’sia
    For a start, NR shld dissolve race-based political parties Umno B n MCA
    Keep MIC but reinvent MIC into Malay Indian Chinese party or Malaysians In Common party

  14. #14 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 3:23 pm

    Have anyone noticed that for quite a few days now, Gerakan, MCA, MIC and Sabah & Sarawak parties have been VERY quiet while churches continue to be vandalised…

  15. #15 by boh-liao on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 3:50 pm

    Oh, those pa.ri@h dogs, d master commanded: sit n b quiet; Yes, master

  16. #16 by tanjong8 on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 5:02 pm

    To ask the UmnoUtusans to organise a Malaysian diaspora conference ?

    Fat Hope !

    UmnoUtusans are happy that these 300k good citizens have left the country because they are unlikely their supporters !

    UmnoUtusans only want their supporters to stay so that they can perpetuate the power ! Nevermind if the country goes to the dog !
    As Ku Li had said in an interview in S’pore, Malaysia is rich and can afford blunder and squander !

    To save the country, shouldn’t the UmnoUtusans be thrown out decisively in the next election ?

  17. #17 by -ec- on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 5:04 pm

    diaspora: “In all cases, the term diaspora carries a sense of displacement; that is, the population so described finds itself for whatever reason separated from its national territory; and usually its people have a hope, or at least a desire, to return to their homeland at some point, if the “homeland” still exists in any meaningful sense.” (wiki)

    to paraphrase, people seek refugee in other places because their ‘homeland’ does not exist in any meaningful sense.

    it takes 52 years for the bn government to make malaysia losing meaningful sense of existence. nonsense government from a bunch of nonsense politicians!

  18. #18 by monsterball on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 6:54 pm

    As long as UMNO BARU is governing…no one will come back…when they have gone overseas to work.
    We do not trust Najib…or UMNO…right at home….why should the smart ones….forced to find jobs elsewhere.. trust him and the government?
    I am sure all love Malaysia…but will not be fooled by UMNO racist party promises..which have always been proven…unreliable ..untrustworthy…and Najib himself is not in control at all.
    He is trying to get something done good for UMNO to gather strength and supports..with no results.

  19. #19 by cskok8 on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 9:34 pm

    When our politicians go overseas they only want to meet Malaysians who are govt servants and GLC employees working there plus students on govt scholarships. No way they would want to meet people who might ask awkward questions which cannot be answered.

  20. #20 by tanjong8 on Saturday, 16 January 2010 - 10:22 pm

    No other newspaper in the world can be allowed to behave like the Utusan Malaysia in our country !!!

    Yet UmnoUtusans are fanning hatred day in day out !!!

    Is it any wonder that churches are attacked by the hotheads ? Theses hotheads are made use by the UmnoUtusans who must be pulled down to save the country from further destruction.

    Najib and Kerishamudin must be held responsible for the current unrest !

  21. #21 by ringthetill on Sunday, 17 January 2010 - 6:21 am

    Eradicate all the disciminatory policies and start recognising what when wrong over the past 40 years and you may stand a chance of revrsing the outflow.
    Otherwise, go on living your evasive dream.

  22. #22 by ringthetill on Sunday, 17 January 2010 - 7:02 am

    I learnt something today watching a tv programme.There is a Russian that says ‘close one eye, you are blind; close both eyes and you are as good as dead’. Can I humbly ask if our so called leaders learnt from this?

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