Get real, Talent Corp

By Brandon Chan | May 16, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

MAY 16 — Johan Mahmood Merican must be breathing something different from the rest of us. In an interview with the Singapore Straits Times, he said that rhetoric over race will not impact the efforts of his organisation, Talent Corp, to lure Malaysians back home.

In essence, he said Malaysians living abroad will look at the policies of the Najib administration rather than be influenced by the chatter over race which has dominated the national discourse.

I suppose he has to say positive things but without realism this Talent Corp venture is doomed for failure. And the signs are that Johan is in la-la land.

The majority of the more than one million Malaysians did not leave the country because the tax rate is uncompetitive or because public transportation is woeful or because the national education system is dismal. They left because deep in their gut they did not believe they would get a fair shake in this country.

If Talent Corp did some research, it would realise that the spike in migration numbers was noticeable when race relations were at their worst and the sense of alienation among non-Malays over their position in this country. Does Johan even believe that Malaysians in Singapore, London and Melbourne are excited about the ETP, NKRA or whatever.

Please-lah. All these men and women have heard and read about the MSC and the economic corridors and have seen the major gap between plans and implementation. They know that Bumiputera and Umno interests have to be taken care and that meritocracy will take a back seat to affirmative action imperatives.

They also know that the general feeling among Umno types and civil servants is that returning talent is not welcome.

But most of all Malaysians abroad increasingly cannot recognise the country they left. It would not have helped matters that both Prime Minister Najib Razak and former PM Mahathir Mohamad refused to accept a main point of the World Bank study that Malaysia’s brain drain was mainly the result of social injustice.

Now if the people of influence in government refuse to accept the underlying factors of the brain drain, how serious can they be of wanting to tackle the problem? The answer: not very serious.

These national leaders do not condemn the race rhetoric and increasingly right-wing tone of Malaysia. In fact, they seem to encourage it, allowing Ibrahim Ali and the mainstream media to get away with insulting non-Malays and non-Muslims.

Does Johan actually believe that Malaysian Christians working abroad are interested in coming back now that Utusan Malaysia has started a campaign against Christianity?

So I think given his interview with the Singapore Straits Times, we can conclude that Talent Corp is doomed for failure.

* Brandon Chan reads The Malaysian Insider.

  1. #1 by DAP man on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 6:42 pm

    If we have a dunderhead as head of Talent Corp, then only other dunderheads will want to return to Malaysia.
    Ibrahim Ali is saying, ” You come lah I want to kill you” and you expect our talents to return and be slaughtered by Muslim fanatics.
    Why is Johan luring them back to be slaughtered?
    Why doesn’t he also ask them to close their eyes to corruption, abuse of power, the fake judiciary, Malay superiority etc.
    Why should they return and be called pendatangs and pay taxes for the Malay civil service salary.

    Why do you need talents when you Mat Rempit and Mat Sikal to propel the country to greater heights?

  2. #2 by Loh on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 7:22 pm

    ///MAY 16 — Johan Mahmood Merican must be breathing something different from the rest of us. In an interview with the Singapore Straits Times, he said that rhetoric over race will not impact the efforts of his organisation, Talent Corp, to lure Malaysians back home.///

    It is because we assume that Talent Corp aims at luring Malaysians of all races home. But if we know the intention of Talent Corp is getting those who belong to the favoured race in the country, then the so-called ‘rhetoric over race’ will have certainly no impact because the persons Talent Corp wants intends to bring home are not the discriminated Malaysians. Johan is telling the truth in a round about way. We tend to jump to conclusion that Najib must be telling the truth. Najib wants only Muslims to come back and Johan of Talent Corp has just confirmed it.

  3. #3 by k1980 on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 7:42 pm

    Johan Mahmood Merican has to say what he said because his rice bowl depends on him saying it. If he had said otherwise, he would be out looking for a job tomorrow.

  4. #4 by HJ Angus on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 7:57 pm

    I agree with k1980.
    He cannot be heard saying that TC is just a SHAM.

  5. #5 by jaychelliah on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 8:16 pm

    alent can travel where ever talent is needed and can be appreciated and rewarded accordingly. We all should look at the positive sides of Talent and to find ways to flourish in a multiracial Malaysia. Talent is unique and propriety and no one can take it away from you. Its how you use it and enhance your Talent is the critical factor. Ask Brandon Chan to come up with this own policy proposals to make Talent from abroad in Malaysia attractive to all. I guess he will take the easy route and blog without substance. The Brain Drain in Malaysia is due to Chinese arrogance and greed. The Chinese want to control – be what ever and make themselves Chinese Centric. Take the top 100 manufacturing companies in Malaysia – they are all Chinese Centric. The language of business in these corporations are Chinese Centric and there is NO room for a common language. My Point is if Talent is needed to be attractive there needs to be a shift in this phenomena of being Chinese Centric. Look at the top 100 manufacturing companies executive personnel. All are Chinese Centric and ALL are educated abroad but now returned to Malaysia. Hence, the Chinese do not have to worry about Talent. The Chinese have a flow or returnees to continue the Chinese Centric Propagation.

    • #6 by yoganp on Monday, 23 May 2011 - 12:46 am

      Hello jay chelliah,

      I hope you are the same person whom you are known as Thamby and we grew up together in
      Jalan Peel, if so, we(rajan) lost touch, I saw you name in the comments, and want to reach out to you. I am in chicago now, if you are the one, please connect with me, have been trying to locate you for the longest time.

      hope all is well with you and your family.


  6. #7 by Bigjoe on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 8:17 pm

    To Johan Mahmood Merican, Talent Corp is already a success – he gets a CEO title on his resume, with a fat pay check, get to fly all over the world in first class, stay in 5 star hotels, hob-nob with elites in KL, AND even if he don’t get a single talent to return (which he can always hide with a few mediocre ones), he knows his UMNO bosses will get him another job…After all, what else was he going to do? get a crappy job that pays peanuts and have to slog like crazy and he still can be fired because he is not good enough? How crazy are you?

  7. #8 by undertaker888 on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 8:54 pm

    sometimes the names will tell us something are truthful or not useful.
    Talent corp sounds like talent flop.
    Saiful Bukhari Azlan sounds like Full of Sai Butt-hairy A$$-man.

  8. #9 by limkamput on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 9:08 pm

    The baloneys never end. When our university ranking is low, we engage consultants to try to manage it up. When our country’s sovereign rating is low, we tried to engage an investment bank to do “hard sell” to rating agencies. When we have too much wastage and corruption in our economy, we formulate GTP, ETP and NKRA. When our people leave for greener pasture, we set up Tenant Corp to try to lure them back. Can’t we see we are tackling the form and not the essence of the problem we faced? The ranking of universities, the country’s sovereign rating, wastage and corruption and whether or not we are able to retain tenant in our midst is dependent on whether we have the right policies, the governance and the prudence to manage our resources, the people and the institutions. Does Singapore have Tenant Corp to attract Malaysians to that country? No, what Singapore has are the right policies, good governance, and well respected institutions to ensure minimal corruption, efficient civil service, fair play, justice and meritocracy. What does Malaysia have – plenty of oil and gas but wasting it.

  9. #10 by Not spoon fed on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 9:17 pm

    Today, we could read news report about Talent Corp asking Malaysians working overseas to ignore the racial comment.

    Johan is totaly incorrect that he fails to understand what we are looking for and at.

    As long as Malaysian government (BN) allow corruption in government offices, bias policies and allow these kind of racial hatre coment to go into the air, we certainly will ignore Johan’s calling and ignore this Talent Corp.

    Yes, that is correct. Why Singapore does not have similar to Talent Corp in their country to attract Malaysians to work there? While Malaysia needs to have this Talent Corp?

  10. #11 by Godfather on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 9:27 pm

    Why does Malaysia need its Talent Corp ? Well, you get to employ around 100 personnel, and you ensure that at least 90 pct of them vote BN. Then this Talent Corp recruits all the “right” candidates from Syria, Lebanon, Cote D’Voire, Senegal because these new immigrants won”t feel threatened by Ibrahim Katak.

  11. #12 by boh-liao on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 9:57 pm

    2day, a talented judge has guaranteed his fast promotion under UmnoB

  12. #13 by tak tahan on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 10:39 pm

    Yes..the talented judge,En Rambutan.Can we hear your comment please?

  13. #14 by Dr. W on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 10:44 pm

    BRANDON, this is so well said! I am a living example of what Brandon has described!

  14. #15 by mui kuai fa on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 11:08 pm

    It is a sin for those who lure people back to Malaysia to be slaughtered!! This land is dangerous, racial disharmony is being fanned to the height as BN allows it!! My advice and warning to those being approached to return to Malaysia is – you are vulnerable not to increasing crime rates, lies, corruption but frustration and inefficiencies and mad policies, injustice and lawlessness!!

  15. #16 by waterfrontcoolie on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 - 12:26 am

    For a start, the current policy begun the migration of those talents so unless it is changed all the sales options would never work. It is not the nature of the human nature to recieve instruction from people who are less talented. Just ask the Super-Ego! Even Hitler’s Germans failed miserably notwithstanding their talent and ardent love for many engineering marvels. Now we have a very average group shouting ” Master Race’ right from the last quadrant. If you are good and superior, no one will dispute with you even if you don’t claim it. Respect comes naturally. Talent is 90% sweat and 10% luck! Policy is man-made and if forcefully implemented against those who are against it, at best you just make them switch off their mind and they turn to money-making at any cost! This too seems to affect characters like Ibrahim Ali of PERKOSA. As the writer rightly pointed out, Malaysia cannot compete on cash or opportunity for the talents, so basic policy of fairness and equitable opportunity may bring them home. I guess this would be a lot tougher. Even as close as across the causeway, a talent with five-six years’ experience can command s$10-15 K, excluding bonus. How would you lure them back? Anyway, what kind of jobs o we have to sustain such salary, bearing in mind we tend to over-employ with low salary.

  16. #17 by negarawan on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 - 12:34 am

    The foundation of any country is unity. In Malaysia that is missing, and the country is a failed state after 50 years of UMNO rule. No talent in his/her right mind would want to come back to a failed state because there’s no real prospect.

  17. #18 by raven77 on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 - 12:36 am

    Johan Mahmood Merican….who is this guy??????

  18. #19 by tak tahan on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 - 1:01 am

    Rambutan is smiling to himself..he can have everything to himself..right?

  19. #20 by AliAhKongAnup on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 - 4:41 am

    Umno is the master of bandaids – temporary fixes to tide the puppeteers over till the kampung folks hand them a few more years of pillaging. Economy stumbling? Bandaid w/ ETP, GTP, NKRA. Brains leaving? Bandaid with the TC. Protests from bright young non-malays w/o scholarships? Throw them some bones. Utusan spewing toxin? Yeah, they have a bandaid for that – make the Christian coalition promise they will not do what they did not do but were accused of doing. Packing too much heat from the indices on corruption, competence, university rankings, crime rate, rising prices, blah blah? Got a bandaid – porn video.

  20. #21 by passerby on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 - 9:50 am

    Johan Mahmood Merican of Talent Corpse must be thinking in technicolor just because of what he said the non-bumis will be flocking to come back. Who does he think he is, the PM? Can he remove all the unfair policies and rules and put behind bars all the extremists, may be including the mamak? If you can’t how do you expect the non-bumis to come back.

    We all know that the Talent Corpse was created to let some brain dead corpse a job and nothing else.

  21. #22 by cemerlang on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 - 11:25 am

    People who come back, come back because they see that things are better at home. Psychologically people will always judge you especially if you are different from the crowd like your colour, your accent, your clothes, your behaviour and what not. But if these do not matter to you, you should stay put in that foreign land because that foreign land will offer you much more for your future. If you do come back, make sure you come back with tools, with defence, with protection aka money, lots of money. When things go bad, you have the money to help you through besides prayer. This is a practical thing that you can do. In Malaysia, it sounds good, it looks good because it is only on the superficial level. If you can be manipulated, you will have a lot. If you cannot be manipulated, you are stagnant. Manipulation as in you help me and vice versa. Yes you help me, I help you is very meaningful and that is why the P.M. said that. If there is somebody bent on pursuing his own agenda, ask yourself, what future do you have ? Even Bumiputras / Malays are leaving.

  22. #23 by Gemilang on Tuesday, 24 May 2011 - 9:39 am

    Dear Fellow Malaysians:

    I am compelled to write to you regarding Talent Corp. road tour in the U.S. I have just attended one of their events at Marriott, Santa Clara. Let me tell you, the turn out was good. I believe there about 200 Malaysians living in the Bay Area attended this event hoping to hear what they have to offer.

    It is not surprising that the event was such a let down. Talent Corp. sent amateurs to speak on behalf of Johan Merican where no where to be found. The speaker was a young kid, Hidayat who was very proud to tell the audience that there is nothing wrong with Malaysian education, because he graduated from MIT. Let me share with you that this kid was so naive, speaks poor English, have no business acumen, lack of respects for Malaysian professionals, and lack of understanding of American business etiquette.

    For someone who claimed to be MIT graduate and used to work overseas as consultants — he definitely did not have the MIT qualities. He forgot that he just spent his few years completing his undergraduate degree here in the US, but have never been living and working for many years in America. The reason I pointed out this, is that it makes huge differences in life experiences. As an alumni of MIT does not mean that he is fits to talk down on professionals like us here in the Bay Area.

    When it comes to questions and answers sessions. He does not have any substances to support his slides presentation. For instance, on the slides it features one of the benefits for luring back Malaysian abroad is by extending 15% income tax reduction, and two cars, furniture, and so on. When asked about whether he really thinks that it is competitive package as opposed to other countries. He honestly believed it was competitive. This kid is so gullible and blindly followed what the government said was good. Yes I understand that I should take his words at the grain of salts. But, it is so intimidating to listen to bunch of amateurs representing Malaysia — what a shame!

    Another thing, when some fellow Malaysian asked about what the government will do about immigration-laws, such as dual-citizenship, spouses able to find a job in Malaysia, education for the children, insurance, diversity and inclusiveness, and so on — none of these issues Hidayat able to address at intellectual levels.

    Okay, the delegation was consist of representation from Northern Corridor (Dato’ Reza) and his team, MSC (Dato’ Sham) and his team, two young ladies from Khazanah Group, and Mr. Pang from MIDA Malaysia. Imagine you are sitting and listening to bunch of preachers telling us we should consider to come back to Malaysia. Well for haven-sake, for who’s benefits? The government or the people? When are they going to realize that they are wasting so much Malaysian tax payers money by traveling to the US in the name of business conference.

    They ought to be ashamed of themselves. They come here in the name of conference, but in reality they took their children for shopping abroad, sight-seeing. Why they have to bring their wife and children during official trips with Malaysian tax payers money? Let me tell you, Dato’ Sham from MSC even came late to the event, showing no apology or remorse. It is another sign of lack of respects for others. Excuse me sir, though you are attending Malaysian event where most Malaysian will be there — that does not give a good reason for you to be late. He simply have this don’t care attitude!

    I personally says to them that this is just another campaign for Talent Corp. from the government. Nothing more, nothing less. They are not really serious about it “hangat-hangat tahi ayam aje”.

    That’s all for now.

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