A Blessed New year to all.
I am quite burden with things going in Malaysia. On one hand is the government attitude towards brain drain; and on the other is the responses of ‘the almost and the already brain drain-ed people’. This is written in response to the article I have read which is printed below here.
By Agence France-Presse, Updated: 12/30/2010
Malaysia struggles to stem ‘brain drain’ as talent departs
When computer engineer Wan Jon Yew left Malaysia in 2005 for a job in Singapore, all he wanted was to work in the city state for a few years before going home. Now, he says, he will never return.
With a family, a home and a car, he now plans to settle in Singapore for good — just one of the many Malaysians stampeding abroad every year in a worrying “brain drain” the government is trying to reverse.
“I wouldn’t consider going back to Malaysia, I won’t look back. If I were ever going to leave Singapore, I would migrate to Australia,” said the 28-year-old, who now has permanent resident status.
“It’s not about the money. I could have a better quality of life in Malaysia with my pay. I could have a semi-detached bungalow and have a maid there, but I would rather live in a government flat in Singapore.”
Wan, who is ethnically Chinese, is one of some 700,000 Malaysians — most of them highly educated — who are currently working abroad in an exodus that Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government is struggling to reverse.
The “brain drain” has a number of causes. Some have been lured by higher salaries, but others blame political and social gripes including preferential policies for Muslim Malays, who form the majority.
Many feel constrained by life in a country where the ruling coalition has been in power for half a century, and where progress on freedom of expression, the right to assembly, and tackling corruption has been slow.
A decades-old affirmative action policy which hands Malays and the indigenous groups privileges in housing, education and business, has been criticised as uncompetitive and improperly benefiting the elite.
As a consequence, many of those who have left are members of Malaysia’s ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities, who make up some 25 percent and 10 percent of the population respectively.
Najib in December launched a “Talent Corporation” with incentives to woo back these highly skilled workers, as well as foreign professionals, to live and work in his multi-ethnic country.
Malaysia, Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy with a population of 28 million, has ambitions to transform itself into a developed nation by 2020, but a lack of human capital is a barrier to reaching that goal.
World Bank data cited by the Malaysian press shows that while globally the number of migrants rose 2.4 times between 1960 and 2005, Malaysia’s diaspora registered a staggering 155-fold increase over the 45-year period.
“I don’t want my children to go through the unfair treatment,” said Wan, who believes Singapore offers “fair competition”.
“I’m not proud of being a Malaysian because I think the government doesn’t treat me as a Malaysian.
“I would rather be a PR (permanent resident), a second-class citizen in a foreign country, than to be a citizen in my own country.”
Wan said his wife, an IT analyst, renounced her citizenship in July this year, joining a queue of about 30 Malaysians lining up to do so on that day alone at the Malaysian embassy in Singapore.
Commentators are sceptical over whether the government’s latest effort to reverse the “brain drain” will be successful, warning it will be tough to persuade those in self-exile.
“Money does have a significant role but the most important factor, I think, is opportunity. Malaysia is too politicised and opportunities are not evenly available to everyone,” political analyst Wan Saiful Wan Jan told AFP.
In one example, he said academics are reluctant to work in local universities as they must sign a “loyalty pledge” barring them from, among other things, criticising government policies.
“In such an environment, obviously those with talents will find opportunity elsewhere,” said the chief executive of think-tank the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS).
Wan Saiful, who himself returned to Malaysia last year after living in Britain for 17 years, said the newly launched Talent Corporation will be “another expensive failure” if it does not tackle these structural problems.
“When I apply for a job, buy a house, register my children for school etcetera, why does it matter what my race or religion is? This should stop,” said the analyst, himself a Malay.
Ethnic Chinese and Indian professionals who have left the country commonly say they felt a sense of marginalisation in Malaysia.
“When I went back to Malaysia, it was a culture shock in terms of politically how they promote the rights of the Malays over everyone else,” said Chee Yeoh, a stock analyst who migrated to Australia three years ago.
Yeoh was educated overseas from the age of 10 and returned in 1998 to take up a position with a bank, but felt like leaving again “almost immediately”.
“I just didn’t feel at home in Malaysia. I can’t speak the Malay language — essentially I felt like an outsider even more,” said the 35-year-old analyst, who took a pay cut to move to Australia.
Najib has admitted the talent issues are “broad and complex”, and will not set a target on how many Malaysians he hopes to lure back under the new programme.
The initiatives include a “resident pass” which will give foreign skilled workers, and Malaysians who have gave up their citizenship, the long-term right to live and work in the country.
But Fong Chan Onn, Malaysia’s former human resources minister who was instrumental in previous “brain gain” efforts, said the government must tackle the issue holistically.
“The government needs to rectify this sense of marginalisation. We also have to improve the mechanism so it can be more effective to ask these talents to come back,” he told AFP.
“We have a long way to go. It is better late than never.”
Surely one will leave if we look for equality, justice and fairness. But in this world there are more than just these 3 criteria that can keep one person stay put in Malaysia. Such things like the followings are as equally important and crucial for any decision making.
1. God’s Calling and Vision - this can propel any one to go against any other reasons of leaving. The idea of WHY AM I BORN IN MALAYSIA? Is it a mistake? What is God’s purpose for me? Is it only equality? Fairness? Justice? Finance?
2. Passion and Vision against self-interest - many look at one’s own self interest and of course they are expected to make such decisions of leaving. Can we and do we have any moral obligation for the nation - at least to help make it better a little bit. Many will have left the Manchu China long ago and never return because they were treated and discriminated differently but there were people like Dr Sun Yat San, Mahatma Gandhi and others who thought otherwise.
3. Social and Community responsiblity - our parents, family members and friends are still around. Only those who are given the opportunity to study elsewhere and overseas can get out - what about those who cannot? What will be the consequences for those who are left behind? What future do they have while ours are so bright? Are we happy to see them being discriminated against or treated unjustly while we enjoy the equality and fairness overseas?
4. Passing Phase - I believe this is just a passing phase of our nation’s history and I don’t want to be left out of it. I don’t want to be someone who only concerns with enjoying the fruits and wash our hands on the toiling and preparatory work. I want to be a History Maker.
5. Faith & Mission - my faith doesn’t teach me to abandon the boat where all my other brethren are still on board. Jesus Christ would have left us and forgotten about us after mankind has fallen into the problem of SIN. He did not forget us instead He purposely came into this world to be part of our struggle with the notion of bringing us out of the ruts. He did it on the CROSS but we still need to convince many to follow Him and take up the challenge to stay put until all are won over.
6. Light & Salt - Christians are called to be the light and salt of the world. Where is our light? Where is our saltiness? Are we only called to be light and salt of the community in the so-called Fair & Just world and not in the dark and dilapidated world? Where will the light and salt be best at? In the Dark and Tasteless world or the Bright and Tasty world?
7. What can we do? - If everybody says the same thing “What can I do?”, there will be no Mao Tze Dong, Winston Churchill, Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Genghis Khan, Mother Teresa, Apostle Paul, Apostle Peter, etc… The world will be so different. You and I will still be illiterate and living in caves and die before we reach the age of 5. Of course there are many terrible guys who have caused great sufferings and bad things to mankind. We are to reject their styles but instead to imitate the great heroes and leaders of this world who have brought many great progresses and achievements to mankind and this world.
8. Where are you when the world needs you? Where are you when your nation needs you? Where are you when your family needs you? Where are you when Jesus Christ needs you to be His hands and legs and witnesses?
May this New Year 2011 bring a positive revolution to your contributions to God’s Kingdom!
(December 31st, 2010 posted in another blog)