Why I work and stay overseas

Alex Yap
The Malaysian Insider
May 24, 2011

MAY 24 — Rather than harping on race issue, I am writing as a Malaysian not as a Chinese Malaysian. My point is to get the new graduates in Malaysia to see the bigger picture, and hopefully my article can help them get a direction in their career.

I am now working overseas in China (not because I am Chinese but because China has lots of jobs now due to the booming market).

I worked in Malaysia for more than 10 years in the retail market working for Chinese bosses (Singaporean/Malaysian), Indian bosses and handled brands like YSL and Hugo Boss and I have climbed to the level of GM in Malaysia. I have worked overseas under Singaporean/US bosses for more than six years now and been posted to the Solomon Islands, Vietnam and Cambodia and now China.

The reasons why I work overseas:

1. The money/currency

In overseas postings even if you work for Malaysian bosses/companies you can expect to be paid more than in Malaysia. Currently I am paid in US$ and British pounds. Thus, if you convert to ringgit, my salary can easily reach more than RM20,000 per month. That’s a lot of money in Malaysia. In Malaysia, I discovered some GMs are only earning RM8,000-10,000 a month. With inflation and cost of living in KL so high what is RM10,000 per month if you have a family to feed, house and car and other debts? Is it really enough?

2. The work

Overseas you will find that you are really treated well for your talent, skill, hard work and performance. There is no ceiling really when it comes to salaries… some expats from Singapore are earning on the average S$$30,000 (RM72,000) per month. If you are good, headhunters (international standards) will come looking for you

3. The exposure

You will meet people of different cultures and become more confident, open minded, etc. Now I do not have to look for jobs, I can rely on my network of foreign contacts. You will also look at things differently. Malaysia really is a tiny country and its economy is small. The Malaysian GDP per capita is more than 20 times lower than Singapore’s.

4. The culture

I am sad to say my years working in Malaysia I have encountered all sorts of unethical behaviour among Malaysian bosses and employees. They seem to be very concerned about people’s sexuality. I have encountered GMs who are actually mistresses of the bosses, etc.

6. The system and delivery of businesses are not efficient in Malaysia

The roads, the public sector services. Thus, it’s really frustrating working in Malaysia. Small issues or non-issues will always come up e.g. lost mail, cheques, slow Internet, poor service, poor or non-delivery of services paid. All are rent seekers and businesses do not really create values. Corruption is the norm.

7. Race and religious issues also will come in the picture and taint all business dealings.

People or businessmen will always use race and religion to justify business failures. Non-Bumi and Bumiputeras are always clashing with each other in business dealings. Performance and fair competition are not well regarded.

8. Tidak apa attitude/apathy

Now, Bumis and non-Bumis are hoping for God, the government or bomohs to help them in everything including businesses and careers.

The fighting spirit is gone.

9. NEPThis has caused Malaysians and Malaysia more harm than good (even to the Bumis). The country is no longer competitive.

10. Security

I do not see any future in Malaysia for anyone… it is a time bomb waiting to go off anytime. The country is not working.

I did not write this to condemn anyone, it is just my honest opinion about why I prefer to work and live overseas. This world does really belong to the fittest. Nobody will help you if you don’t help yourself.

  1. #1 by dagen on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - 8:14 am

    Security is a time bomb. How true. With several million foreign migrant workers here, that fact alone is a security threat. If 5% of 3million foreign workers were to respond to riot call in the country, for whatever reason, our country would have to face some 150,000 enemies. But then again they may not because most of them are actually bumiputra-to-be. So if they were to respond to such calls they would be rioting as malaysians and not foreigners. What irony.

    To my mind the whole problem is umno and nothing else. mca mic gerakan etc do not exist as far as i am concern. So i do not talk about them much.

  2. #2 by drngsc on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - 8:52 am

    Dear Alex, and all the overseas Malaysian who still love Malaysia, I would like to make a request.

    Alex, you are in China, about 4-6 hours away by plane ( depending on which part of China you are at, north or south ), and it cost about RM2-3K to fly back.
    Would you be so kind as to help us by flying back on Election day, cast your vote, have dinner with your friends and love ones here, and then return to your work in China. Of course before that, you must register to vote.
    There are 1million Malaysians overseas who are eligible to vote. Even if 30-50% return just to vote, it will help us change this government.
    Please, I am making a plea for help to all our overseas Malaysians.

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya.

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - 9:24 am

    U forgot 2 mention sex discrimination n sexual harassment by Gerakan politicians

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - 9:25 am

    U forgot 2 mention too ppl dying in polis lock up

  5. #5 by passerby on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - 9:58 am

    Where is Talent Corpse? Here is one potential talent to bring back to help export Malaysia products overseas. Are there any job available to non-bumi?

  6. #6 by DAP man on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - 10:03 am

    Stay there and don’t come back. They will tell you to ‘balik Cina’. Your wife will be ridiculed at the Immigration if she is a foreigner. She can’t find a jobs here even if she has a PhD.
    You children will be discriminated in schools and they can’t get scholarships.
    This is Tanah Melayu. We are pendatangs.

  7. #7 by wanderer on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - 10:25 am

    Correction please, it is “Self-claimed” Bumis. At least in Australia, the Whites never claimed to be Sons of the soil…like all other late
    migrants, they accept too, they were just pendatangs!!

  8. #8 by waterfrontcoolie on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - 2:21 pm

    If the overall state of the country’s economy is below par, no matter what is done to change by slogans will not work. It is good to hear Mr. Yap, I guess he isn’t that young, having worked at so many places; that he finds working overseas less stressful and all more challenging mentally. Such environment will certainly attract many more young graduates to the overseas market. In spite of all these scenarios, why is BN bent on misleading itself on its policy? Is it a case of giving up? So that they can concentrate on piling up their nests and had actually prepared to disappear from the scene? You just can’t help running to this conclusion, seeing their actions and behaviour.

  9. #9 by SAndrew on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - 2:46 pm

    Kit Siang, agree on how corrupted, racial base this country is.
    but 1 concern i have is will be it any different if DAP/PKR took over the federal gov? will it just change the discrimination from non-bumis to non-chinese?
    why am i asking this? now in private sectors, non-chinese are discriminated by chinese in-terms of salary, promotion, rewards, etc…. for the same position, a non-chinese with degree and 10 years of experience is RM2000 but a chinese with diploma that replace him with no experience offered RM2700 to do 1/4 of the non-chinese job. the balance 3/4 is segregated to another 3 person with 2 times of his salary. this is a real case that happened to my friend.
    what happenes if it’s a country or state?
    even in singapore, this is what is happening now.

  10. #10 by DunnoMuch on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - 7:27 pm

    I am working and living in a foreign country too. I remember during the last Olympic Games, a Malaysian badminton player was playing against a Chinese player in the men’s single final. I was watching on the tele and I was praying so so hard for the Malaysian. I guess what I am trying to say is no matter where you are, you will always be a Malaysian.
    Regarding your ‘bigger picture’, you are encouraging the talented young Malaysian to look for better things in foreign land. So, what you are saying is that when facing a problem, go somewhere else. Is that the value you want for all future generations? The country is not working, leave! The world is not working, go to Mars!
    Everyone agrees China is a booming economy. A lot of my Chinese friends have decided to move back to China because of that. I envy them. Why not rebuild Malaysia so that people like you and me have the choice of going HOME? Leaders like LKS and LGE can choose to leave the country and live a very comfortable life anywhere in the world and yet they decided to stay back and help rebuild the country we love.
    I think, you love Malaysia too. Or else you wont be wasting your time reading on the affairs in Malaysia. Please, dont give up on Malaysia. Please, stop telling the talented young to leave, the country needs them. If Indonesia and Phillipine can do it, so can Malaysia.

  11. #11 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 - 10:09 pm

    My first love was practically Japan;life,place,foods,lover.I was offered a job in Japan or Singapore prior to my graduation(during my factory part time) by my then Japanese senior manager(should’ve been my father’ age now).I’m not that so-called talent to be hornest,just ordinary guy yet playful in a way u can imagine ya?But i just had to come back by instinct-home sweet home.I thought i could have everything there(Japan or Singapore) when i wanted so but i would not have my family,relatives and friends here(Malaysia) here.That’ my reason to come back.And now i’ve more reasons to stay here!What about u younger generation?Alex,i respect ur opinion but u have just have to look beyond u n ur new family.No offend.

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