Millions of Malaysians Migrated Overseas,WHY?
On December 4th, Wong Sai Wan gave the “Reasons to leave, Why not” article in the STAR to explain why the number of Malaysians leaving to settle down in other countries is growing. This is really alarming and something the Malaysian government must study for the sake of our country’s future.
There were more than a million Malaysians who chose to leave the country for many reasons, and I believe most of them left because of “Discrimination” in educational, economic policy and treatment pointing to racial problems. Recently, there were some who migrated due to a better prospect in their career opportunities. However, this is not really an excuse to migrate as most of them can find the same opportunity in Malaysia or Asian countries years after they gained experience abroad. But they chose to apply for citizenship instead of a “temporary stay”, that is PR status.
According to former diplomat Dennis Ignatius who wrote in his column in The Star last month, there were more than 300,000 in Britain, 200,000 in the US, 95,000 in Australia and 50,000 in Canada. Of course, there are many more staying in Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia that may not be in the statistics. Recently, it has been a migration trend to Australia. Malaysians seeking to migrate to Australia increased tremendously and it came as big surprise that that includes a big number of Malays.
I have travelled around the world and I can find Malaysians in almost all of the countries. I remember meeting some Malaysians in Venice, Mexico and even in Quebec, northern Canada who spoke very fluently in French.
Deputy Foreign Minister A. Kohilan Pillay told the Dewan Rakyat 2 weeks ago that a total of 304,358 Malaysians left the country in one and a half years between March 2008 and August 2009. I understand from friends that these are no longer just non-Bumis but also including some Bumis immigrants.
Many students who study abroad chose not to come back when they have an opportunity to; due to a comparison of the FREEDOM and DISCRIMINATION issues with our home country.
When I was studying in Canada and USA in the 80s, I found most of our Malaysian boys and girls have a view to our country at almost HOPELESS. Most of them try to convince me to stay back in the States. I remember I had an American girl friend who asked me to stay and be an ’American’, and my answer to her was , “Follow me back to Malaysia to stay or we can only be friends.” I kissed her goodbye because I loved Malaysia and she loved her country.
What is the reason of “moving out”? It is in fact understood but most of the Politicians chose not to face it or rather to ignore it. I have done much studies and I can 100% assure you that the main attributes are Racial problems, Discriminative policy and Safety and Security. Of course, there are a small number who left because of family or career opportunities.
I was once actively involved in supporting the Government’s brain gain programme to attract ex-Malaysians or those living overseas to come home 7 years ago. I was undertaking such programs in the American Universities Alumni but I was so disappointed and I name this brain gain program as a “NICE SHOW” but no action taken. There were more people going out to work instead of coming back in the same period.
In 2003, I organized a big dinner attracting 700 overseas graduates and was supported by 8 overseas universities Alumni ( including USA, UK, Japan, Taiwan, Canada, Singapore, etc.). We set up a theme ;” United, We Return, We Serve, We Succeed “. We called all Malaysian Students to COME BACK but it seems that it did not bring much attention to the government although it was published and broadcasted by all major newspapers and TV stations.
I agreed with Mr Wong that the authorities must examine the reasons why 1% of the population left in just 18 months and will this figure continue to increase. Are there any particular policies that are driving these good people away? Thus it should be the first priority of the 1 Malaysia plan.
Based on my estimation, more than 20% of Chinese and Indian Malaysians migrated, and do not include the future generations who are born overseas. It could be 30% if you take all into consideration.
If you ask me if I ever regretted coming back to serve the country, I can only reply. “I do have a lot of disappointments with our country and the policy, but I still love Malaysia.” However, for a SAFE and PEACEFUL life, I may choose to migrate when I am older and I am no longer able to contribute much to the country.