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Bringing talent home

“We must bring the talents home and provide incentives to keep them home.”

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in his speech at the Mahathir Science Award 2008 and 2009. He said more scientists and innovators were needed, and that Malaysia must identify the reasons for the country’s inability to nurture a bigger pool of science professionals. He also said ways must be found to reverse the brain drain from Malaysia. (Source: Science, Technology And Innovation Important In Economic Planning – PM, Bernama, 29 Sept 2009)

“There’s a negative flow in the sense that more Malaysians would prefer to work overseas if they have the opportunity. We have to reduce that so that the flow would be more towards them wanting to work in Malaysia.”

Najib, during a gathering in Abu Dhabi, said the government must create more “buzz” about working in Malaysia so that Malaysian professionals would return to work in the country rather than overseas. He said Malaysian professionals were not so excited about working in Malaysia due to the relatively low wages compared with overseas wages. (Source: Najib On Move To Lure Malaysian Brains Back Home, Bernama, 22 July 2009)

“I felt very suppressed in Malaysia.

“I have benefited from the better research environment and salary scheme here (Singapore). Things are much smoother.”

Tan Chye Ling, a 32-year-old scientist and postgraduate in molecular biology who moved to Singapore after a decade of study and research in Malaysia. Tan estimated that 60% of her research teammates in Singapore are Malaysian, despite Malaysia’s efforts to develop a bio-technology industry. (Source: The leaving of the suppressed, Reuters as quoted in Malaysiakini, 16 May 2008)

“I refused to believe my eyes when I found out on Sunday through the PSD website that my application was unsuccessful.

“I felt that my world collapsed that day.

“I just want to become a doctor so I can serve the country.”

K Kamine Devi, a 17-year-old from SMK Ahmad Boestamam in Sitiawan. The former science-stream student scored 10 A1s in her SPM examination. However, the Public Service Department (JPA) rejected her application for a scholarship to study medicine. She was particularly disappointed as she said the JPA had issued a statement guaranteeing scholarships for students who scored nine As. It was reported that Kamine’s application to the matriculation programme was also rejected.

Reports of the rejection of top scorers who apply for JPA scholarships are a regular annual feature. (Source: PSD rejects 10 A1 student for scholarship, The Star, 13 May 2008)

“… this is an Islamic state … if anyone doesn’t like it, just get out of Malaysia.”

Former Jerai Member of Parliament Badruddin Amiruldin from Umno, during a parliamentary discussion on whether Malaysia was an Islamic or secular state. (Source: Drama in the Dewan Rakyat, Malaysiakini, 11 July 2005; and Parlimen Malaysia – You Tak Suka, You Keluar Dari Malaysia, YouTube)

“As the higher education minister, I will never allow non-bumiputera students to enter UiTM. I will not compromise on this matter.

“I will ensure the quota of Malay [Malaysian] students’ entry into universities is always higher.”

Former Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Shafie Salleh, speaking at the 2004 Umno general assembly. (Source: UiTM out of bounds for non-bumi students – Dr Shafie, Utusan Malaysia, 25 Sept 2004)

“Balik, balik Cina!”

Several demonstrators, comprising Malay Malaysians from both the Barisan Nasional and the Pakatan Rakyat, protesting against the Bar Council forum on conversion to Islam on 9 Aug 2008 at the Bar Council building in Kuala Lumpur. (Source: Protest Bar Council’s Forum on Conversion to Islam, YouTube) Favicon

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9 Responses to “Bringing talent home”

  1. rowena says:

    With leaders like these, why wouldn’t we leave the country??

  2. Shawn Tan says:

    As a government scholar who is currently serving, I have begun to experience exactly why people leave. Lack of appreciation is the main reason. There is a big gap between our leaders’ talk and the action on the ground.

  3. Benji says:

    Being a returning overseas student, I can say that 80% of my friends did not return home. It is not always about low wages. Most of them are terrified of security problems; being raped, robbed or killed are very real threats to [someone] who is used to living carefree overseas. And of course, all these people yelling for us to get out of the country [are a factor].

    Most of [my friends], if given a choice, actually want to come back home. [And those of us who] decided to come back? We are suckers for good food. Can’t beat that!

  4. sambal muncha says:

    It’s not just about wages. It’s about the strength of the judiciary, civil service, community support services, and education opportunities for the children [...] It has to be a holistic approach. That’s where Malaysia needs to play catch-up.

  5. Pratamad says:

    Cakap tak sama bikin!!!

    Our government is made of hypocrites.

  6. Wu Ling says:

    As long as not all Malaysians are treated fairly, those who have the opportunity will prefer to work somewhere else in which a highly motivated environment is provided.

  7. TLP says:

    How many non-bumis or (smart bumis) would WANT to go to UiTM? Resumes [are] in broken English. They couldn’t even get through the first stage of our interview process. Terrible quality.

  8. Azizi Khan says:

    I just came back from Raya [Aidilfitri] in Malaysia. World class facilities in Malaysia, low-class mentality. Everywhere you go, there is racism. “Bumiputra encouraged, Chinese preferred” etc. Do I really need to come back to this? It’s the reason I left in the first place!

    As for UiTM, everyone knows it’s an Umno diploma mill. Most employers would never hire a UiTM graduate. My four-year-old nephew speaks better English than most of them. Heck, when I was in Malaysia, a few companies I knew, the HR departments automatically filtered out UiTM grads so the management does not have to endure such poor resumes. True story. It makes me shiver to think they offer law degrees now.

    Besides, generally most moderate Muslims like me are appalled that Malaysia is regressing into the dark ages. I fear for my family and friends that sooner of later some crazy Malaysian Arab wannabe is going to declare a holy war in Malaysia. We have exported enough terrorrists to know this could happen.

    So do I come back to Malaysia? For holidays – yes. For good? Not just yet.

    It’s sad though, KL has the ability to run circles around cities like Sydney and Singapore. It’s the mentality of the people that’s holding her back.

  9. Karin says:

    Frankly, we’re being advised to leave the country and get a job outside if we can. The only real motivation to stay is our familiarity with the place and people, and most importantly food! :D

    Career-wise, political and environmental-wise…yeah, no.


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