Foreign varsities swoop amid Malaysia’s brain drain

By Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 07, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 — Malaysia will face another brain-drain threat when some of the world’s best-ranked universities descend here this Wednesday to lure more local talent abroad, London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) cautioned today.

The data-gathering firm predicted Malaysian students “will be taking the opportunity to study abroad” during the QS World University Tour, which will see universities offer them attractive education packages aimed at addressing their financial concerns.

“With approximately 80,000 Malaysian students studying overseas, the country may be seeing signs of brain drain as an increasing number of students are looking overseas to pursue their higher education in Germany, France, the UK and other EU countries,” QS public relations head Simona Bizzozero said in a media release today.

The release noted that the universities recognise the students’ financial concerns in receiving overseas education and are ready to offer them scholarships and practical advice on how to apply for different aid schemes.

“Parents and students will also have the chance to have in-depth conversations with the various schools,” QS said.

It described the QS World University Tour as a unique platform which allows potential undergraduate students to meet representatives from some of the world’s best-ranked universities.

Malaysia is already facing a major brain-drain crisis with the World Bank warning recently that the haemorrhage of local talent here would likely intensify over the years and further erode the country’s already narrow skills base.

Its senior economist Philip Schellekens had said the number of skilled Malaysians living abroad tripled in the last two decades with two out of every 10 Malaysians with tertiary education opting to leave for either OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries or Singapore.

According to the World Bank Economic Monitor, the brain-drain crisis is depriving Malaysia of talent, and accounts for a third of the country’s one-million strong diaspora. Singapore alone has absorbed 57 per cent of these departing educated workers.

Quoting editor Danny Byrne today, QS said that the internationalisation of higher education has seen a growing trend of Malaysian students seeking foreign education, “despite Malaysia having over 35 universities”.

“With such great interest in obtaining an overseas degree, the world’s top universities are intensifying their recruitment of talented Malaysian students for their institutions this year,” Byrne added.

The Najib administration has been scrambling to plug the country’s talent leak and recently established Talent Corp under the Prime Minister’s Department to initiate and facilitate initiatives aimed at wooing local talent back to the country.

Talent Corp has rolled out two programmes. One is a long-term resident’s pass for skilled foreigners and former Malaysians. The other is the Returning Experts Programme, which aims to woo Malaysian professionals abroad with incentives such as a low tax rate. The latter scheme has stirred some interest.

The measures, covering the period from 2011 to 2015, are aimed at fulfilling the country’s long-standing goal of becoming a developed nation by 2020. At present, only 23 per cent of Malaysia’s current work force is highly skilled. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said this number must rise to 37 per cent by 2015 if it is to become a developed nation by 2020.

  1. #1 by waterfrontcoolie on Monday, 7 November 2011 - 6:11 pm

    How did we arrive at the figure that 23% of the workforce is considered “highly skilled” just be adding up all the graduates? or do we discard all graduates who could not find employment 12 months after graduation? The Gomen is caught even on collecting statistics which if one takes the trouble to scrutinize any sector which you are well verse with, the figures are laugable! You have to womder on what basis the figures are corelated? in simple term, the politicizing of everything in the nation for the purpose of make-believe has actually screwed up the nation planning system. Maybe that was the main objective! Crew-up the system so that the people could not find out who is screwing them high and dry!

  2. #2 by DAP_VICTORY on Monday, 7 November 2011 - 6:39 pm

    Najib do not worry about brain drain, all he want is no brain malaysian who can vote for BN all the election. All he want is all professional Malaysian left this country because these people is a harm to BN

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Monday, 7 November 2011 - 8:03 pm

    WHAT brain drain? Citizens who wish 2 move away fr M’sia r generally well educated n critical of UmnoB/BN, n these ppl r considered as SAMPAH by UmnoB/BN
    Good riddance lah, UmnoB/BN dying 4 these ppl 2 leave M’sia so dat they r NOT around 2 vote 4 PR, better 4 UmnoB/BN 2 retain power in d next GE
    UmnoB/BN oredi got lots of brainy ppl here, like Rid huan Tee, I Bra Him, Nazi, moooo

  4. #4 by raven77 on Monday, 7 November 2011 - 8:22 pm

    If you are non-Malay and have the brains…better go…

    Even if you are Malay and have the brains, better go unless you want to be faced with nincompoop government servants and even more dodgy Vice Chacellors and Datok Professors…….

    They want to be an Indonesia, wallowing in mud…let them be….

  5. #5 by monsterball on Monday, 7 November 2011 - 8:35 pm

    You can bet those crooks children are all studying overseas mastering the English language and come back to show to their own race their brains are much better than them.
    It is like the British taken by Malays as Gods in olden days.
    Now the Gods are UMNO b crooks.

  6. #6 by yhsiew on Monday, 7 November 2011 - 9:25 pm

    By now the government should understand competition between Bumi and non-Bumi does not matter so much, but rather, it is globalization and international competition that it has to deal with.

    The country will go down the drain if the government fails to formulate policies to tackle threat arising from globalization and international competition.

  7. #7 by tak tahan on Monday, 7 November 2011 - 10:40 pm

    Why worry when we already have thousands of talents ranging from Perkosa,Pekida,Mat Rempits,Mak Nyahs,Mat Silats and all the Chia lats Chia Lats.These are the true talents entrusted to take care of Bolehland future.We can be rest assured now.

  8. #8 by monsterball on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 7:11 am

    The more talents young Malaysians leave Malaysia the better for the Govt.
    As it is…they know they cannot depend on young Malaysians votes.
    It is not purposely done to give them the advantage.
    It is their idiotic and good for nothing dirty politics that they must keep doing…. to survive.
    They have reach the end of the road and no turning back.
    The more leaving the country….the better for them… and with phantom votes and frauds…are the only hope they can hope to win..the 13th GE.
    Millions of Malaysian eyes are watching them like hawks.

  9. #9 by monsterball on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 7:17 am

    The natural born greedy for money crooks like Mahathir and Najib have only their stinking mouths to protect before…so successful…… now…total failures..because the Rockets strap wit Hornbills are coming and their Boat is old…full of holes..need repairing non stop.

  10. #10 by cemerlang on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 7:29 am

    Bottom line, you want to survive, you want to live a comfortable life, you have your own desires, you have your dreams and so if there is an offer out there better than here; in so many ways better; the big issue is your salary; why not ? It is your life anyway. Why are there so many legal and illegal immigrants ? Same. All searching for a green pasture. They think Malaysia is a green pasture. Home is where your heart is. If you stop loving Malaysia, then you have to search for a new home.

  11. #11 by cemerlang on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 7:33 am

    Even politicians children also go overseas. Even royal family go overseas. With their kind of money, they buy properties over there. If your masters can do it, why can’t you ?

  12. #12 by Godfather on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 7:53 am

    We have 35 local universities, some of them shacks under rambutan trees. We have 250,000 unemployable graduates from these universities. Of course from time to time some of these graduates are hired by the gomen at the expense of taxpayers’ money. Just paid to hang around from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 pm.

  13. #13 by Godfather on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 8:28 am

    Some of these local graduates are paid RM200 by UMNO for each comment they make on Opposition blogs. You can tell their standard of English from their comments. Almost non-existent debating skills too.

  14. #14 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 8:56 am

    I wouldn’t send my children to a local kindergarten much less anything else.

  15. #15 by k3737373737 on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 12:58 pm


  16. #16 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 2:15 pm

    How does one try (by Talent Corp etc) to attract people of talent to stay in a place where talent is basically not valued and is not an arbiter of what they are entitled? Where one like Ambiga, when she is fighting for LGBT rights in name of common humanity can be deliberately skewed as insulting Religion with police reports lodged by small minded people being given effect by authorities to quizz and threaten? Don’t think money and some tax exemptions can lure people back to such an oppressive milieu where truth can be construed lies and lies given credence?

  17. #17 by dagen on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 3:07 pm

    Programme 1: if x=y then y-a=1
    Programme 2: but if z is not z but a; then moo + jib = Fck x ed.
    Programme 3: So if dr + m + a + m + a + k = trouble; we should get, again f + u + c + k + e + d.
    And many many more programmes. You see this is what umno is good for. Coming up with all sorts of programmes, and schemes and plans. The important thing is to translate them into actions and results. Now that is precisely where umno’s inability will manifest. So it’s no use telling us the sort of programmes talent corp have in store. We do not want our experts, particularly muslims not of jenis umno, to return home only to discover that their newborned babies (borned less than 6 months after marriage) could only be registered as illegitimate child.

  18. #18 by fosamax on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 5:10 pm

    I am the one they called me sampah.
    1. Just migrated to Australia
    2. Specialist in my field with RM250K+ per yr
    3. Wife in Hi tech firm with RM250k+ per yr
    4. Son straight A’s
    5. Daughter in Australian selective school.
    6. Moved to Australia coz waited for change 20y ago, no more 20y for me to wait anymore. High income economy…no chance.

  19. #19 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 11:46 pm

    One man’s meat is another man’s poison
    One nation’s SAMPAH is another nation’s GOLD
    Eat your heart out, UmnoB’s Malaise-sia!

  20. #20 by on cheng on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 - 4:25 pm

    Soon, Malaysia govt n private sectors had to engaged foreign experts in almost (75%) every projects!!
    Never mind, we be another UAE, Qatar etc in this respect !!

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