Archive for category Brain drain

Malaysia must have a programme to reduce the migration of highly skilled citizens as part of the policy to make Malaysia great again

(Versi BM)

Last Thursday, Malaysiakini reported the former University of Malaya’s Dean of Medicine Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman as saying that Malaysia loses at least 30 of its best and brightest medical graduates from University of Malaya to Singapore, and that it costs the country almost RM1 million per student to train.

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Of emigration and the trust deficit

Julia Yeow
The Malaysian Insider
10 January 2016

Malaysia’s brain drain problem is far from a new one and, to be fair, is not exclusive to our country.

However, the rise in the number of highly-skilled Malaysians moving abroad to work or live is especially troubling for a country that is hoping to become a developed, high-income nation in less than five years.

The most recent World Bank report states that more than 300,000 Malaysians moved overseas in 2013 alone, joining the millions who are now spread across the globe. Read the rest of this entry »


Are Malays starting to leave the country?

The Malay Mail Online
December 18, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — The South China Morning Post has suggested that Muslim Malays are starting to leave Malaysia as the country’s lurch towards authoritarianism and fundamentalism starts to bite.

A report in the weekend edition of the Hong Kong paper, titled: “Malay Muslims fleeing country as fundamentalism takes hold” painted a grim picture and suggested an exodus of members of the majority race but gave no numbers or hard data.

It cited a female researcher so disgusted with the state of affairs after her shared accommodation with other women was searched for the presence of a man by Islamic authorities on a morality raid that she has resolved to leave the country in two years.

“An anonymous phone call to the religious department alleging a man was seen entering her flat was all it took for the religious officials to descend on her home,” the paper said, adding that six or seven men from the Selangor State Islamic Department (Jais) had entered her flat.

Unaccompanied by any woman, the men were said to have searched all the bedrooms, closets and even under the bed.

“I don’t feel safe in this country anymore,” the researcher was quoted as saying. “It’s like you are guilty until proven innocent. Anyone can make a phone call to accuse another person out of malice or vengeance and, without proof or investigation, the religious authorities will come to your place.” Read the rest of this entry »


Why would anyone flee Malaysia?

Zurairi AR
The Malay Mail Online
November 2, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 — When I returned home to Malaysia from a studying stint abroad in September 2008, I inevitably went into a so-called “reverse culture shock”.

Back then Malaysia had just undergone a botched attempt at a regime change by Anwar Ibrahim following the 12th general elections, leaving so many hopes dashed. (The same would repeat itself after the 13th general elections).

Everything seemed horrible to me back then: People minded other people’s faiths too much, superstitious hogwash was all over the newspapers, people could not even bother stopping at zebra crossings to let pedestrians walk… everything left me feeling slightly depressed.

Six years on, much of the feeling still lingers on. Perhaps even worse, as I get myself directly exposed to Malaysian politics with all its racial and religious madness. It takes a certain masochism for someone to read news headlines every day, what more write them.

The thought of leaving Malaysia for a less claustrophobic land has indeed crossed my mind. As surely it has some of you readers. Read the rest of this entry »


In tale of ‘Rainbow Loom’ maker, racial quota rears its head again

The Malay Mail Online
SEPTEMBER 27, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — “Rainbow Loom” creator Ng Cheong Choon’s story of how he came to invent the toy fad begins much like that of former Malaysians who head for greener pastures after being allegedly deprived by racial quotas here.

Writing of his experience in British daily The Guardian, the creator of the colourful rubber bracelets said he and his brother were forced to head to the US for their education in 1991, despite barely being able to speak any English.

“After school, I dreamed of becoming an engineer, but I could not get into my local university, because Malaysia’s race-based quota system limits the number of ethnically Chinese students.

“Like many of my friends, I had to leave Malaysia to go to university,” Ng wrote in his article for The Guardian. Read the rest of this entry »


Why the migration business is booming

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
11 July 2014

One of the better media outlets in this country is the Business Radio Station or popularly known as BFM radio. According to its mission statement, BFM is

*Malaysia’s only independent radio station, focused on business news and current affairs.
*BFM’s purpose is to build a better Malaysia by championing rational, evidence-based discourse as a key element of good policy decisions.
*BFM applies its discourse-based approach to other programming areas such as entrepreneurship, health, fashion, the arts, sports and music, as well as to its executive education initiative.

A short while ago, I was alerted about a BFM programme in which the director of a migration service which has been in business for over ten years appeared to talk about the business of migration. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia’s returning expert programme driving out more talent, economist says

By Opalyn Mok
The Malay Mail Online
June 22, 2014

GEORGE TOWN, June 22 — Malaysia’s returning expert programme (REP) is not only ineffective but also indirectly encourages more high-skilled emigration, the head of a Penang think tank said, as the government seeks to woo talent home.

Dr Lim Kim Hwa, Penang Institute’s chief executive officer and head of economics said the REP is simply not attractive enough to entice highly-skilled Malaysian workers based overseas back to the country.

“Our research shows that the REP can only lessen the income loss that the emigrant has to sacrifice by coming back to Malaysia so it is not strong enough to lure them back,” he told a forum here titled “Brain drain: Who gains? Who sacrifices?”

Lim was presenting the results of his research on the causes, effects and fiscal impacts on brain drain. Read the rest of this entry »


GLC dominance disproves Dr M’s claim of non-Malay stranglehold, says DAP MP

by Joseph Sipalan
The Malay Mail Online
May 2, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 ― The economic dominance of government-linked corporations (GLCs) negates Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s assertion of a non-Malay monopoly over the country’s wealth, a DAP MP said yesterday.

Swatting aside Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed’s claims of Chinese dominion over the country’s wealth and Indian command of its professions to justify pro-Bumiputera affirmative action, Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong argued that GLCs masked the community’s true control on the economy.

“Look at most of the private hospitals, any of the big ones you can name. Take Subang Jaya Medical Centre, that is owned by Sime Darby,” he said, referring to the now renamed Sime Darby Medical Centre.

“Prince Court, which is the country’s most expensive hospital, is owned by Petronas. Pantai hospital and Gleneagles are owned by Kazanah through its subsidiaries.

Sime Darby and Petronas are both state-owned corporations while Khazanah Nasional is state asset manager; these and other GLC’s come under the control of the government headed by Malay nationalist party Umno.

A steadily growing force since the Mahathir administration, GLCs such as Khazanah Nasional, Sime Darby and DRB-Hicom have amassed overflowing war chests and built networks that far surpass that which smaller firms and start-ups can muster.

Putrajaya estimates that firms linked to it employ around 5 per cent of the national workforce, and hold 36 per cent market capitalisation of Bursa Malaysia and 54 per cent of the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) respectively. Read the rest of this entry »


From personal experience

— Greener Pastures
The Malaysian Insider
Jan 04, 2013

JAN 4 — I write today to present a scenario from personal experience which relates to the national brain-drain and low enrolment in the civil service.

I have served in the civil service for three years now, and the reasons why I joined the civil service was because of my mother, who herself served as a teacher for 30 years and convinced me that the civil service was not what most people thought it to be. In fact, it gave her a good career, a good life, a good income and good benefits right up till now in her retirement. The other reason was I wanted a stable job that would allow me a good work-life balance and time for my new family.

So, after graduating in the Dean’s list from a local university and working in the private sector for a while, I applied and subsequently was called to service. Before I started in the civil service, one year after graduation, I took a certification examination which allows me to practise in many foreign countries. But I chose to stay in Malaysia because Malaysia is home.

I am perhaps the unlikeliest candidate to choose the civil service. The first question most people ask is “Why did you join the civil service?”, and then it is usually followed by “When are you leaving (the civil service)?”. There were two options for me to join the civil service, my first choice was to join the academia. When I embarked on the application process, they told me that they weren’t keen on accepting me because they were afraid that I would leave the University after I got my post-graduate qualifications. Facing such negativity, I gave up on that option and chose to join the civil service proper.

Even with my excellent results, overseas certification and private sector experience, I started off with the basic graduate’s pay grade, which was very low, considering that with my overseas certification, I could get a job in other countries which would pay between RM10,000 — RM40,000 a month. As such, I was only getting somewhere around RM35,000 per annum. The current salary I get, is just enough to maintain a comfortable middle income lifestyle if I don’t purchase a car or house. But I thought that if I wanted to bring change to the industry, I had to be the change. Money isn’t everything, so I stayed. (Remuneration, check; idealism, check.) Read the rest of this entry »


The Malaysian government is “broken” and that’s why it must be “fixed” in 13th GE

Over the weekend, in his speech to the state-sponsored NGO gathering “Himpunan Barisan 1Malaysia” at the Putra World Trade Centre, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said:

“Why fix it (the government) if it’s not broken? It’s not broken, far from it. Our country is the envy of many other nations.”

Both at the thousand-people Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat dinner in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday night and the People’s Green Assembly at Dataran Merdeka this morning at the conclusion of the historic 14-day 300-km Kuantan-Kuala Lumpur trek, I had posed the same question whether the “Malaysian government is broken and needs to be fixed?”, and the answer is a thunderous, powerful and united affirmative!

Fortunately, the Malaysian government has not broken down completely, all the more why it must be “fixed” immediately before it reaches a point of no return.

There is a long list why the Malaysian government is “broken” after 55 years of UMNO/BN rule and needs to be “fixed”, but I will only refer to the following instances: Read the rest of this entry »


The Choices Before Us – Emigration, Encampment or Engagement

By Thomas Fann

I had an interesting conversation with a friend this week about some of the choices made by people we know.

Over dinner, my friend related to me about his brother who had worked and lived in France for many years and how he had decided to return to Malaysia for his retirement only to find out that his citizenship has been revoked. He tried to appeal to the government but was turned down and he returned to France dejected.

He also related about his sister’s family who also wanted to return but after coming back for a holiday and looking over the socio-political environment and inequality here, changed their mind. My friend further told me that many people he knows are making plans to emigrate to Singapore or Australia. Read the rest of this entry »


Race to the bottom in Malaysia

By William Barnes | Aug 2, 2012
Asia Times Online

BANGKOK – As Malaysia approaches a general election season, opposition politicians claim Prime Minister Najib Razak’s ruling party and government are stoking racial politics to gain a popular edge with the ethnic Malay majority.

A year after the World Bank warned Malaysia over its acutely debilitating race-based brain drain, veteran opposition leader Lim Kit Siang has said the government is compounding the damage by blatantly playing the “race card” in the run up to the next election, which must be called by next April.

The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition’s ambitions to lift the economy out of its disappointing holding pattern can go hang when it fears losing for the first time since independence in 1957, he has argued. “They talk all the time about being world beating and wanting to get all Malaysians behind the economy … but it all goes overboard when the focus is on the Malay identity.”
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How to get rid of Malaysian talent

— Cass Shan
The Malaysian Insider
May 11, 2012

MAY 11 — It’s no secret that our graduates who study overseas don’t come back.

Many skilled workers have emigrated citing social injustice (60 per cent) and compensation (54 per cent) as reasons for leaving this beautiful country.

Can you blame them though?

We here in Malaysia are stuck with outdated meritocracy benefits and no minimum wage, not to mention low starting pay for fresh graduates.

About 57 per cent head off to Singapore while the rest move to the US, the UK, Australia and other countries. It has to be mentioned that non-Bumiputeras make up the majority of those who have emigrated.

In place of the talents we’re losing, unskilled workers who have primary school education or less are being taken in.

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realise that we are headed towards becoming a nation of low skills. Read the rest of this entry »


The Democratic Institution in Malaysia

The Malaysian Insider
Dec 17, 2011

DEC 17 — Democracy should be a symbiotic relationship between the rule of law, general socio-economic well being of the ruled and the political ruling class.

Perhaps in Malaysia this symbiotic relationship is accentuated by the political realities which manifest themselves in rather unsavoury light. That may be the reason why socio-economic well being is not felt by the general populace and the rule of law is not exercised by appointees with a sense of justice and equity. The necessary independence and objectivity is not present within the components of the various arms of government, I think.

The political class preponderates over the trilogy of democratic institutions which warp the whole of Malaysian societal structures resulting in complete social disequilibrium. If only some of the Malaysian diasporas will return to infuse some fresh blood into the anaemic blood streams which affect every sphere of Malaysian society we may yet have a good future. I have always been proud of the many talents in Malaysia but unfortunately most stay abroad because of the language issue.

I am not a talent in the true sense of the word but I stayed out of Malaysia because my Malay competence falls far below the level which will enable me to function reasonably well in my particular professional area of expertise. So I stayed on in Singapore as the only language which I am most comfortable with English is the professional tool used in Singapore.

I think there are many like me around the four corners of the globe trying to make their living in the most pragmatic manner. What if all of us are back in Malaysia? Would our concerted presence make a difference? I doubt. Read the rest of this entry »


Essential national intellectual capital: What is needed more, a genius or two, or good academic institutions?

— Clive Kessler
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 12, 2011

DEC 12 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has recognised that a country’s intellectual capital is its primary asset.

Its “brainpower”, he understands, is the major determinant of its international standing, of its prospects of achieving success and prosperity (Melissa Chi, “PM says intellectual capital determines success of a country”, The Malaysian Insider, December 10, 2011).

So far, so good.

But it is wishful thinking to imagine that all can be saved and made good by the production, in isolation — in a cultural and intellectual vacuum — of a couple of world-class geniuses.

There are many small countries that, against the odds, have surprisingly produced the odd “world-beater.”

But unless these intellectual giants inhabit what may be called a “culturally hospitable environment” in their own countries (and provided, too, that they do not become part of the great international “brain drain”), little will come of their achievements. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysians being ripped off (2) – with photos

By Mimi Chih

Thank you for putting my article online.

The reason I enclosed those photos was to drive home the point how much more expensive those same items are in Malaysia. If you go back to Sarawak, they are even more expensive. e.g. even after conversion to RM, it is still more expensive in Malaysia e.g. Yoplait yogurt is SGD7.05 while in KL it is at least RM22, Farmhouse milk is 2 litres for SGD4.85…in KL it is RM10 per litre. Did you see how much the US imported cereals are selling for in Malaysia?

As for simple foods, look at how cheap it is, especially when you are earning SGD. You can still get kopi si peng is still SGD90 cents.

That is the reason why my niece sent out her resumes so many times since last year. She finally got a job in Oct, 2011 as an auditor (2 years experience). Her salary is gross SGD2600. When she earned RM2850 at Ernst & Young, she would never eat at Starbuck, didn’t even dare to look at Farmhouse milk or SPAM luncheon meat, and definitely, would never indulge in Yoplait yogurt. She is now able to enjoy all of those and more and she can send home SGD300. Her parents had to subsidize her when she was in KL even though she lived frugally.
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Malaysians getting ripped off

by Mimi Chih

When Tunku Abdul Rahman decided to expel Singapore from the Federation of Malaya leading to the Independence of Singapore on August 9, 1965, the world did not expect this tiny island Republic with a population of 1.8 million then to stand tall as one of the original Four Asian Tigers, along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan 46 years later. Well, this Lion City has certainly ventured forth roaring all the way with a lion heart.

How does one measure the success of a country? To the people, it is reflected in their overall standard of living. Not every country is lucky enough to have a team of intelligent people whose passionate objectives drive them to make their country a better place to live – for everyone. Singapore is one such country. Today this island republic has one of the highest standard of living in South East Asia.

Which Malaysian could imagine that some 46 years after the split, Singapore’s exchange rate to the ringgit would hit a dizzying rate of RM2.41 (Nov 11, 2011)? August 1972 was the last time that the SGD (Singapore Dollar) was almost on par with the (RM) ringgit at SGD100:RM100.10. For an average wage earner in the Lion City making SGD2500 a month, going for a 10 days holiday to the US or Australia or Europe once a year is a relatively small matter.

What happened to Malaysia? In 1965 when Singapore was expelled, Malaysia had everything that the island republic glaringly lacked – ample land, a plethora of natural resources, an operating government, and 9.3 million people. Read the rest of this entry »


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. Read the rest of this entry »


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. Read the rest of this entry »


10 Countries Facing the Biggest Brain Drain

Online | July 6th, 2011

Brain drain, also known as human capital flight, is a serious issue in many parts of the world, as skilled professionals seek out work abroad rather than returning to work in their home country. Many are driven away by high unemployment, but issues like political oppression, lack of religious freedom and simply not being able to earn a big enough paycheck also play a significant role in exacerbating brain drain. The phenomenon is not only a serious economic issue (both in that the country loses workers and the money it put into training them in college), but one that often puts the health and safety of the nation’s citizens at risk, creating long-term and potentially disastrous results for countries with high brain drain rates spanning several decades.

Here we’ve compiled a list of some of the nations that have been hardest hit by brain drain in that past few years. While some are making progress in reversing the process, others are seeing numbers rise and citizens migrating in larger numbers every year. These nations, often those in the developing world, must make major economic and social changes if they hope to retain their best and most skilled workers over the long term. Read the rest of this entry »