Stemming the Malaysian exodus

— Douglas Tan
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 12, 2011

OCT 12 — Recently, YB Teresa Kok asked me, “Why are Malaysians so keen to leave this country? Life overseas is not necessarily easier!” I agree that life overseas is not necessarily so. In fact, my cousins living in Hong Kong, Singapore and London tell me regularly that they miss the food and that everything is much cheaper at home (except cars). They complain about the weather, high cost of living and their long working hours. Despite this, when the possibility of coming back home is raised, they give me a smile and a shake of their head.

Is living in Malaysia really so bad? What is it that other countries have that we don’t? YB Lim Kit Siang posted on his blog in December 2009 that more than 630 Malaysians migrate overseas everyday, and that number is increasing year on year.

This is a worrying statistic and the brain drain issue is one that the current government acknowledges is a problem. However, the best they can come up with to make Malaysians come back are tax breaks, and tax-free vehicles. From day one, it has become apparent these ‘perks’ would simply not work.

This government has a habit of tackling problems by providing quick fixes. The 2012 Budget should really be called the ‘quick-fix’ budget as RM232 billion is mindlessly spent, with unrealistic economic growth forecasts to back it up.

Yes, 60 per cent of households would receive a RM500 relief and we thank the government for it. What then? RM500 does not combat rising costs, or inflation. How far can RM500 bring us nowadays? Not very far. In no time at all, that RM500 has become a distant memory and we are back to square one.

The Kedai 1 Malaysia initiative was put in place by the government to sell cheap products subsidised by the government, and more are to be opened across the nation. Shop owners are now screaming in displeasure as they cannot possibly compete. If the government is intent on handing out subsidies, subsidise the shops which are already operating! Another poorly planned quick fix that provides no long-term solution.

Where is the long-term economic plan? Where is the investment in our children’s future? Fixing school buildings is an excellent initiative, but the real problem lies in the fabric of the education system.

Our children are taught to be robots, to regurgitate material and not to question their teachers. Many scoff at the lowering of standards in the ongoing PMR exams, and an Additional Mathematics SPM paper was allegedly leaked to tuition centres. Is all this in the name of grades, just to make the Education Ministry look good? How can this system prepare our children to be competent, effective members of society? The biggest losers in all of this are our nation’s children.

A friend over dinner told me earnestly that he was preparing to leave the country for the sake of his children. As disheartening as it was to hear, he proceeded to tell me why.

His vision for his children was for them to grow up in a society in which they would not be discriminated against. Although racism is also prevalent in other countries, in Malaysia, racism is institutionalised and sanctioned by the Barisan Nasional government.

Furthermore, corruption is rampant throughout all levels of government. The payment of corruption money in cases of obtaining building or business licenses is so prevalent, that many businesses have included such a payment in their expense budgets. How can this continue be the case?

These issues are all correlated, and opportunities continue to be stifled. Talented people leave because Malaysia appears to have no appreciation for their abilities. Nepotism and favouritism are practised on the basis of the “Lu tolong gua, Gua tolong lu” principle rather than getting the best person for the job.

Our English standards have been lowered in order to record more exam passes, but quality is sacrificed as a result. If even masters degree holders from local universities are unable to speak proper English, how can we then become a globally competitive nation?

After this Budget, more and more people are convinced that this BN government cares only about staying in power and not for the long-term development of the nation. The exodus of talented individuals will continue unless necessary reforms are put in place.

On a recent trip to the United States, on our stopover in Hong Kong, a fellow passenger remarked that they could finally talk about issues of Malaysia as they dared not voice out their displeasures at home. Recalling so many holding up their fingers to their lips to shush their friends from bringing up national issues, it is obvious that many feel we are living under oppression.

Finally, one of my old schoolmates residing in Australia told me that he wanted to come home to take care of his parents. “But the biggest thing stopping me from coming home now is the government”. A change in government may not automatically bring Malaysians home, but what it would do is provide hope for the future of our nation, and hope for our future generations.

Change is needed, and change has to happen now.

  1. #1 by DAP man on Thursday, 13 October 2011 - 9:04 am

    “How far can RM500 bring us nowadays? ”
    Everything has gone up, including the bribe the cop demands from the motorist.
    So a few more ringgit to the cop and a few more on traffic summonses, we will be in deficit.

  2. #2 by boh-liao on Thursday, 13 October 2011 - 9:11 am

    Given a choice, how many wish 2 remain here 2 b 2nd or 3rd class citizens of a nation dat is on its way 2 bankruptcy through incompetent n racist governance, + corruption?

    Kedai 1 Malaysia – another projek 4 UmnoB/BN kaki n cronies
    RM500 relief 4 certain households – Who n how 2 decide households qualified 2 receive d RM500 relief? Without transparency n accountability, again another avenue 4 abuse by n self-enrichment of certain individuals

  3. #3 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 13 October 2011 - 9:12 am

    The government likes to dish out free food, goodies so that the people become dependent on it.

    If it teaches the people how to fish, which it should, the people will then be no longer hooked but become independent. The BN will lose it power, grip and support. So better to let the people remain hooked.

  4. #4 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 13 October 2011 - 9:23 am

    ‘Change is needed, and change has to happen now.’

    Yes, we all know it. We all want it. However, to make change happen, you will need to win a lot of seats in Parliament.

    So what can PR do to make the change? What strategies does it have to make massive inroads into the many BN strongholds in their fixed deposit territories?

    All we hear is PR want to win Putrajaya but how does it get there if it does not make inroads into BN territory? As far as I can see, the Fixed Deposits remain Fixed Deposits. You need to uplift the Fixed Deposits in a big way in both the East and the West. And to retain your own Fixed Deposits. Is this happening or is this still a mimpi?

  5. #5 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 13 October 2011 - 9:24 am

    Early morning and I am moderated. It is not a good day. Maybe the sun will come out soon.

  6. #6 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 13 October 2011 - 9:52 am

    better to be moderated than “disciplined”!
    I don’t mind being moderated but not for too long.
    What irks me more are the Crazy Captchas!

  7. #7 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 13 October 2011 - 10:13 am

    Moderation means it might, just ‘might’, come out tomorrow, if at all.

    The captchas are really ‘gotchas’. It is supposed to make us all go crazy, to think twice, thrice, about wanting to say something. Notice how so few people say anything at all, even crazy, zany, things?

    My captchas now has one ‘word’ in Urdu I think and the other one is of some kind of scientific formula.

  8. #8 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 13 October 2011 - 10:32 am

    maybe that’s they use the Crazy Catchas….
    Even I have reduced postings on this blog by at least 50%.
    I suggest the admin too should use the CC everyday to understand the problem.
    Easier to post on Malaysian Insider.

    [Note: Asking Admin to look into catcha problem and to explain. Kit]

  9. #9 by boh-liao on Thursday, 13 October 2011 - 1:16 pm

    Ha, ha, mayb LKS believes in “Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make MAD”
    D CAPTCHA is his instrument of making ppl mad/crazy
    Actually, not so difficult 2 use lah; if U no like what U C, then click on the ‘two circular arrows’ sign on d right 4 new words
    If still TAK SUKA, keep clicking until U like what U C, then TYPE lor; DON’T let d words drive U mad/crazy mah, stay cheeerful n healthy, hv FUN

  10. #10 by Loh on Thursday, 13 October 2011 - 3:50 pm

    Mamakthir said that if Malays are not united, they will lose political power in 10 years. In fact Malays have lost political powers since 1981 when Mamakthir become Prime Minister. Mamaks took all the power in the name of Malays. Mamakthir had a hand in the creation of conditions which ended up with Razak imposing NEP.

    NEP drives Malaysians who could not masquerade as Malays to leave the country.

    Now true Malays are leaving too because the country is corrupted to the core. How else can a one-man company be given a service contract of 500 million ringgit to service a submarine that is not submersible?

  11. #11 by Loh on Thursday, 13 October 2011 - 4:50 pm

    ///Yes, 60 per cent of households would receive a RM500 relief and we thank the government for it. What then? RM500 does not combat rising costs, or inflation. How far can RM500 bring us nowadays? Not very far. In no time at all, that RM500 has become a distant memory and we are back to square one.///–D. Tan

    The government after spending that money to pay the poor, should know who are the poor households. Don’t use the name of these poor people to make rich Malays richer. Pay the poor by all means. Don’t blame the poor and then create race-polarising policies.

    Article 153 was created at the time when the government was not able to know who were the poor. The government called the poor people Malays, as if others were not poor. Now, with the records of the people who are poor, there is no need to give the ‘bad name’ to Malays. Malays in the constitution should be replaced by “the needy”, who are included in the list of households who receive RM 500 from the government.

    For whatever Najib’s reasons, the list is a good outcome for proper policy implementation, of a sincere government.

  12. #12 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 13 October 2011 - 11:39 pm

    To me the abject failure in our education policies has resulted in so many young Malaysians being unable to obtain jobs that pay a reasonable salary.
    I am sure if you check the many factories, one can find many jobs of technicians and engineers being filled by foreign workers. Are there no capable citizens?
    If say 10,000 of those unemployable graduates(now in the civil service) had been given a proper education in a university or even technical college, most could be absorbed in the factories.

  13. #13 by boh-liao on Friday, 14 October 2011 - 1:12 am

    LOL, now graduates no want 2 work as technicians in factories or plantations
    Want 2 work in air-con offices, hv credit cards, buy cars mah
    How 2 achieve d above? Simple mah, join Umno Youth n b Branch Chairpersons, everything kow dim, got $ n power, can also meet NR n RM, like d Ful of Sai guy lor

  14. #14 by boh-liao on Friday, 14 October 2011 - 1:13 am

    Wooah, mana CAPTCHA? No more leh, impressive 1

  15. #15 by k1980 on Friday, 14 October 2011 - 10:33 am

    “How far can RM500 bring us nowadays? ”

    You get RM500 for the whole of 2012, but when the GST is imposed, you will pay RM5,000 in service taxes for that year. So jibbi gets back RM5,000-RM500 = RM4,500 for the fiscal year 2012.

  16. #16 by donng55 on Saturday, 15 October 2011 - 9:02 pm

    //YB Teresa Kok asked me, “Why are Malaysians so keen to leave this country? Life overseas is not necessarily easier!”// …

    The YB must have just returned from Mars!!! What a stupid question and what a bloody shame!!!!!!!!!

  17. #17 by the reds on Saturday, 15 October 2011 - 9:12 pm

    Malaysia is a very good country with many resources! Majulah, Malaysia!

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