Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Great Malaysian Brain Drain

The HELP for Haiti Fund collected a meager RM8 to bring our todate total to RM7,971.

I read with interest this news report in today’s Star (Webpage http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/3/30/neweconomicmodel/20100330150821&sec=neweconomicmodel) that the National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) is claiming that Malaysia is losing its skilled talent which it needs to drive future growth as many are leaving to seek better opportunities elsewhere. Quoting an estimate by the Ministry of Human Resources, the NEAC says in 2008 some 350,000 Malaysians were working abroad, over half of which had tertiary education.

"We are not developing talent and what we have is leaving," the NEAC warns.

I don’t think I am wrong to say that more and more Malaysians are packing their bags to leave. I am not sure if any study has been done to investigate this but many have speculated that the exodus is brought about by disillusionment: rising crime, crippling cronyism, a tainted judiciary, human rights abuses, an antiquated education system, stagnating salaries and other concerns. Whether these are valid reasons, the fact remains that the brain drain saps the country of much-needed talent.

The saddest thing is that our country seems indifferent to this situation.

Yet we should also take note that Singaporeans are leaving home for a whole load of other reasons – very dissimilar to ours.

I put to you that it’s not only Malaysians and Singaporeans – but other nationalities too. "Brain drain" has emerged as a compelling policy challenge for developing countries undergoing globalization. This "human capital flight" describes the emigration of educated and highly skilled talents. The lure of wealth and availability of opportunity elsewhere leaves labor-exporting economies in a self-reinforcing bind: How can a developing country hope to fast-forward when the best and brightest routinely set out in search of greener pastures?

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