Malaysia's Overlooked Brain Drain
It’s just not non-Malays
By: Murray Hunter
It has long been known that significant numbers of non-Malay Malaysians have migrated to other countries in search of more opportunities and a better life. The establishment narrative has been ‘tak apa’ or ‘good riddance,’ or more thoughtfully, that this exodus is just part of a general regional and world trend. But what is going unsaid is that ethnic Malays, who are the beneficiaries of preferences in education and employment and a wide variety of other advantages in society, are nonetheless leaving as well.
Today, more than two million Malaysians – 6.25 percent of the population – are abroad, many of them permanently. The country is losing some of its best Malay doctors, engineers, scientists, university professors and other professionals who says it is due to the environment Malaysia’s leadership has created.
In 2007, controversy erupted when then deputy home affairs minister Tan Chai Ho released statistics showing that of 107,000 Malaysians who had renounced their citizenship since independence, 79,000 were ethnic Malays – not the minority races who have been getting increasingly short shift. Since then, the government has chosen to downplay those figures and doesn’t keep track of emigration, given the sensitivity of the issue. Counts of Malaysians abroad are thus only available courtesy of statistics kept by the destination countries…