When will Najib and his Ministers wake up and realize that the twin crisis of human talents and investments confronting the country are more than a matter of economics?

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed is quoted in today’s press as saying that Talent Corporation has been tasked with attracting at least half of the 750,000 Malaysian professionals working overseas to come home as part of its efforts to draw the best brains in the world to Malaysia.

Speaking at the launching of the Public-Private Partnership’s website www.3pu.gov.my, he said seeking out the Malaysian diaspora for the top brains was necessary as the Government aimed to hit the target of RM115 billion per year in local and foreign investments to turn the country into a developed nation by 2020.

It is shocking that Nor Mohamed could come out with such an unrealistic and “tall order” not only because of the dismal failure of previous government “brain gain” policies but in the light of recent events when the unchecked escalation of the rhetoric of race and religion would have the effect of giving a major push to greater brain-drain from the country instead of pulling back talents from the Malaysian diaspora to return to serve the country.

It is time that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Ministers wake up and realize that the twin crisis of human talents and investments confronting the country are more than a matter of economics.

They cannot do better than to give serious thought to the article “FDI – more than economics” by Dennis Ignatius in the Star today.

Referring to the massive 81% plunge in foreign direct investments (FDI) in Malaysia in 2009 as compared to the previous year – FDI declined from RM23 billion in 2008 to a mere RM4.4 billion last year apart from a massive RM25.4 billion out flow of capital – Dennis wrote:

“Dismissing the significance of the precipitous decline in FDI might be politically convenient but it will not hide the arresting message that it sends: a serious loss of confidence in Malaysia and a sign of our decline.

Anyone closely monitoring developments in Malaysia, including foreign investors, cannot but conclude that our nation is now increasingly shaky in several areas. And they must also wonder, given recent events, if we are even up to the challenges we face.

Right now we are transfixed by the staggering RM12.5bil Port Klang Free Zone scandal.

What is really distressing is that such corruption and scandalous mismanagement of public finances keeps recurring with frightening regularity.

We seem to helplessly careen from one major scandal to another. It is a mess, a sordid mess, that must surely cause many foreign investors to simply shake their heads in disbelief and dismay.

And more than that, it tells the world that we still have not found the political will or the necessary institutional architecture to prevent such massive corruption from recurring.

It would be naïve to think that corruption on this scale will not impact investor confidence.

And, given our dismal record of bringing to justice the real kingfishers of corruption, not many believe that things are about to change.

Cumulative scandals affecting other national institutions, including the police and judiciary, have also steadily undermined the perception of Malaysia as a safe and competitive place for long term investments.

And then there is the increasingly strident and racially charged rhetoric that marks so much of what passes for political discourse in our country these days.

It may be just politics Malaysian style to some or a convenient, if morally bankrupt way, to garner support to others but it makes foreign investors, and many locals too, very jittery.
It is not for no reason that more and more Malaysians of all ethnic backgrounds are packing up and moving abroad.

According to the World Bank, the number of emigrants out of Malaysia rose from 9,576 in 1960 to almost 1.5 million in 2005. Over 300,000 left between March 2008 and August 2009 alone.
In this connection, I wonder how much of that US$8.4bil that left our shores last year was simply Malaysians moving their capital to safer shores.”

At the end of his article, Dennis pointed out that assurances by the government to take proactive measures to reverse the decline in FDI are not enough, as what is needed are actions which “go well beyond mere economics and fiscal measures” to reverse the decline.

Dennis concluded:

“What is also urgently needed is real and effective political leadership to tackle head on the corruption issue and the growing racial and religious divide.

The Prime Minister’s 1Malaysia policy, while constructive and desperately needed, unfortunately already suffers from a thousand cuts. Unless he is able to revive confidence in the Government’s ability to bring about its realisation, it will not help turn the tide of slumping investor confidence.

If we ever hope to raise the RM115bil worth of investments to achieve the goals of the 10th Malaysia Plan, we must act now.

And not with half-measures and half-hearted gestures but with credible policies and programmes backed by the necessary political will.

Bearing in mind the turbulent and uncertain global economic environment we are in, our very prosperity, if not survival, depends upon it.”

This prescription is not new. In fact, the New Economic Model cries out the same message.

But is Najib and his Cabinet capable of acting on this prescription with Malaysia at the crossroads?

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 11:06 am

    Its freaking medieval they way they think of citizens. All these people who left with great hardship and all they are seen are economic chess pieces. Who the hell want to be treated as mere inputs into a borg-economic machine? Who would trust a borg-administration? They have learned nothing. Singapore did the same thing and cannot attract its own to return and have to rely on foreigners to fill the gap.

    Seriously, the minds of these older ministers seemed to be frozen in some long-lost time wrap.

  2. #2 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 11:14 am


    Why would they want to come back?

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 11:17 am

    MMK bashed meritocracy n said meritocrats are racist
    Hmmmm, MMK is a believer of Michael Young’s The Rise of the Meritocracy

  4. #4 by undertaker888 on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 11:19 am

    when umno and bangsat negara are gone, i will come home and do my part. for now, why would i help this racist government? i will do that when PR takes over.

  5. #5 by tunglang on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 11:26 am

    This country has gone down the monsoon drains
    – drained of talents,
    – drained of national wealth,
    – drained of common sense and
    – drained of justice, equality and human rights.

    I’m contemplating to just migrate for good.

  6. #6 by yhsiew on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 11:59 am

    This is what Najib’s government gets when economic planning is ethocentric (looking after the well-being of a particular race only). Other races, which are being treated as second-class citizens, will not let the government exploit them (why must they work so hard to feed the protected race?), and hence the dilemma – exodus of Malaysian talents to other more liberal countries.

    Unless the question of race and privileges is solved, outflow of talents will perpetual and poses a threat to economic development and international competitiveness of the country.

  7. #7 by artemisios on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 11:59 am

    1) “Chinese kids can go back to china”
    2) “We’ll revoke Indian citizenship”
    3) “Chinese women came here to sell their bodies”
    4) “Elak Perang Besar”
    5) “Chinese are pendatang”
    6) PKFZ 12.5 Billion
    7) Limbang Gas Giveaway Bonanza RM320 Billion
    8) Submarine Scrap Metal
    9) Prototype Battle Tank RM8 billion
    10) at least 100% tax on imported cars
    11) Petrol, sugar, all essentials on the rise
    12) Toyo 24 Million mansion
    13) “Indian worship strings are like dog strings”
    14) Teoh Beng Hock
    15) FELDA $$$$$ theft
    16) Sime $$$$$ theft
    17) Cow head protest
    18) Church Bombing

    Please come back to M’sia.

    This is what’s waiting for you.

  8. #8 by on cheng on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 12:37 pm

    artemisios, you must add
    a) fighter plane engine go flying >9000km without having pilot or consuming no petrol?
    b) non muslim cannot say ala
    c) zakaria deros (railwayman) istana,
    d) 14 years ‘gangster’ shot dead at a midnight traffic block.
    e). Luxury propeties hv 7 or more % discount for certain rich ppl, unlimited quantity? Etc Etc
    But seriously, if oversea Malaysian no return, Malaysia can still attract talents from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Philippines, Cambodia, Srilanka, Indonesia, Pakistan, India?? So why worry, uncle LKS

  9. #9 by Saint on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 12:41 pm

    We are all wrong.
    They only want the overseas Malay Muslims to come back, but that also is not easy with all the perks & advantages given.

  10. #10 by LG on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 12:58 pm

    Why wake up when they and their cronies are enjoying such a wonderful dreams.

  11. #11 by Taikohtai on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 1:10 pm

    Go back? Of course we all want to go back but we shall go back to fight for a decent gomen, a caring and non-racist agenda. We also will bring back all the good things that other countries are offering to their citizens, how caring they are, and why they reject the Ketuanan policy. Still want us to go back, sure?

  12. #12 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 1:55 pm

    I doubt if anyone who is doing well will come back for the long term.
    Of course they miss Malaysia and most of them will spend 2 weeks visiting the familiar places for their favourite food.
    But that is all.
    Only 2 things will attract Malaysians back.
    We have a change of government and after 2 years of relative stability, the new government begins the task of rebuilding with clear transparent policies that are not race-based but needs based.

  13. #13 by tsn on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 2:03 pm

    With present political, racial, religious climate, to woo gone Malaysians back is almost next to impossible. Better offer attrative, competitive holiday package tours for these exes. What about 7-night-8-day Air Asia Nasi Lemak only tour.

  14. #14 by yhsiew on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 2:21 pm

    Najib and his ministers should learn from neighboring Indonesia how it rose to become an economic tiger after putting in real efforts to wipe out corruption and abolishing laws which discriminated against the Indonesian Chinese.

    Indonesia is said to be on course to join, in the near future, the so- called BRIC group of major emerging nations comprising Brazil, Russia, India and China. “Indonesia’s political and economic outlook has improved tremendously in recent years,” Templeton portfolio manager Dennis Lim wrote in a note on 27 January 2010.

    I hope that Najib and his ministers are not blind to the success story of Indonesia and that they will come up with the correct fixes for the country’s human talent and investment crises.

  15. #15 by DAP man on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 2:31 pm

    Hey Tan Sri Nor,
    Please minus my two children from your 750,000 plucked from your wet dream.

    Change it to 749,008.

    You want them to be told to return to their motherland by your UMNO racists and their children ridiculed by your school principles?
    No way.

  16. #16 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 3:00 pm

    If the likes of Khir Toyo, Nor Mohd, Moh Ezam, having failed miserably in ‘Save Malaysia’ road show and a long list of sheenanigans for 2 years, still think they can ‘whip’ Selangor PR govt in submission, what chance is their glorious leader of understanding important abstract ideas like these??

    These are entitled people, they think they are entitled to fail again and again and again and they don’t have to pay the price for it because someone else paid for them all their lives. They are bred to be out of touch from such high level accountability and responsibilties.

  17. #17 by Godfather on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 3:34 pm

    DAP man:

    You must know how to count first before you speak to Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

  18. #18 by X-factor on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 3:59 pm

    Some people will only return after their race rules the country. For this kind of people, any iniative will not do.

    They’re unfortunately in denial that their return should be based on economic consideration, where the drive actually comes from his very own race anyhow.

    Furthermore, Malaysia doesn’t need the talent who put themselves way before the nation anyway. We already have plenty of self-centered people here.

  19. #19 by Comrade on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 4:08 pm

    How to attract back the talents that left for greener pasture?
    How to reduce the on-going exodus culture?
    By dumping the BN/UMNO gov’t for their failures
    And give a chance for PR to reshape our future

  20. #20 by 9to5 on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 4:16 pm

    Don’t for a moment think that Najib and his officers don’t know about this. It is for their political survival that they are deliberately creating this mess!

  21. #21 by dagen on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 4:25 pm

    I would not encourage them to come back. Stay put and wait until after ge13 when umno finally is killed off.

  22. #22 by cseng on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 4:37 pm

    Mahathir said “Meritocracy is racist!, bla-bla-bla…. You can call me racist, LET IT BE”. That arrogant ‘let it be!’ and nobody is accountable for anything, is killing m’sia!.

  23. #23 by boh-liao on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 4:46 pm

    Do we really believe dat UmnoB/BNputras want smart Malaysian professionals working overseas 2 come home 2 kick their a$ses n bury their political careers?
    UmnoB/BNputras not so Kamikaze lah, talk is cheap, wayang saja lah, U know

    Smart Malaysian professionals working overseas 2 come home – tan ku ku lah
    They won’t even cross d causeway 2 step into d worst designed, most pedestrian-unfriendly, n tortuous JB CIQ building
    Dat building is a laughing-stock which truly showcases 2 our first-time visitors d incompetence of our ministers, officers, n planners

  24. #24 by gofortruth on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 6:19 pm

    I dare say most people left Malaysia because of the future of their children. Out there their kids have equal opportunity with the locals. In the work place they are promoted according to their ability & not their racial origin. They don’t have to work under sub sub sub standard superiors.

    Out there every Ringgit you paid as tax goes into proper development. The public swimming pool, library, public park, sports & recreation clubs etc etc are only a stone throw away. Medical & health care & retirement scheme is excellent.

    Their currencies are strong & they always have a swelling time when they do come back for short holidays to visit their relatives & enjoy the best local food.

    So tell me why must they come back to work under such threatening & volitile environment?????????? You can’t criticize the gomen else they string you up under ISA. You live in fenced up locality for fear of robbery. You see your kids being bypass by other with much much much worse results. Can you as a parent stand that?

    Why must they come back??????

    TDM alone must be held responsible for bringing down a potantially great nation. He alone has created an inferior, social parasitic type of people. Until & unless CHANGE comes, these people will not come back, in fact, more people will go out!!!!

  25. #25 by dawsheng on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 9:23 pm

    General election should be held yearly in order to keep the house in order.

  26. #26 by johnnypok on Thursday, 26 August 2010 - 11:02 pm

    NEP and AP are the two most destructive policies.

    Unfortunately, the ruling parties dare not remove them. They even took advantage of these policies to enrich themselves for the past donkey years, especially during the era of Toon Mamak .

    The damage is too severe, and too costly to repair.

    May be a change of government, with clean and honest leaders (like Lim Guan Eng) can save the country from going to the dogs.

  27. #27 by AhPek on Friday, 27 August 2010 - 1:10 am

    This Nor Mohd guy,isn’t he truly a clown for thinking that he can attract at least half the 750,000 Malaysians abroad to come home to Malaysia.? Are you sure those words are uttered from the correct opening?

    More likely another 750,000 will be drained out over even shorter time period than the first 750,000.

  28. #28 by HJ Angus on Friday, 27 August 2010 - 7:42 am

    before we entrust this guy with attracting talents back, we should ask what happened during his stint at Bank Negara when Malaysia lost millions trading in foreign currencies.

  29. #29 by boh-liao on Friday, 27 August 2010 - 9:34 am

    Aim: Attract at least half d 750,000 Malaysians abroad 2 come home 2 Malaysia
    Half of 750,000 = 375,000
    So, NM while rubbing his grubby n itchy hands thinks aloud: Hmmmm, just RM10 commission per returnee = RM3,750,000.00 (at least)
    Waow, wonderful (drooling nonstop), better than forex trading, sure win 1
    If greedier, RM100 commission fr d pocket of each returnee, ooooh, waaoow, ho ho ho ….
    As happy as Fagin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HazQlWgdzg

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