Brain drain in Malaysia: Why Malaysians don’t want to come back home

In response to another article (“Malaysia losing talent it needs to climb world ladder, Fitch unit says”) in the Malay Mail, Malaysian Rueben Ananthan Santhana Dass has written an excellent piece where he describes other factors contributing to Malaysia’s brain drain. Specifically, Dass noted:

…one of the prominent factors for brain drain in the country is the lack of suitable opportunities. The Malaysian economy is primarily centred around production and manufacturing rather than research and development. This results in a high demand for semi-skilled labour and a drastic lack of highly skilled job opportunities…..highly qualified professionals with research backgrounds and many PhD graduates are forced to ply their trade in foreign countries.

The job market in Malaysia also caters only exclusively to ‘traditional’ jobs such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, finance executives, etc. There are very few opportunities for individuals who choose to traverse the ‘road less travelled’, i.e. those who have studied niche subject areas such as the pure sciences or arts…

After making some government policy suggestions, Daas ended his piece by saying:

The grass is not always greener on the other side. Living abroad may look fancy on the outside but it is never an easy endeavour. Many have had to make numerous sacrifices. Most have had to endure the hardship of being separated from parents, siblings, loved ones, friends and family. Many have often had to miss out on celebrations and family events. Many have even had to make the difficult decision of being separated from their spouses and children just to be able to earn a living. Whilst some have voluntarily made the decision to go overseas for better remuneration, many who are there yearn to come home but are forced to stay put due to lack of opportunities back home… 

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