Friday, December 31, 2010

Malaysia struggles to stem 'brain drain' as talent departs

KUALA LUMPUR, Thursday 30 December 2010 (AFP) - 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."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Najib & Khairy, what say you on Wiki Leaks?

In September 2008, Kausikan, a senior foreign affairs official, told the US Deputy Secretary of Defense for East Asia David Sedney that the “situation in neighbouring Malaysia is confused and dangerous”, fuelled by “a distinct possibility of racial conflict” that could see ethnic Chinese “flee” Malaysia and “overwhelm” Singapore.

A lack of competent leadership is a real problem for Malaysia,” said Kausikan, citing the need for Najib to prevail politically in order to avoid prosecution in connection with the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

“Najib has his neck on the line in connection with a high-profile murder case,” noted Kausikan.

A few months earlier, Peter Ho told another US official: “The political knives will be out for Abdullah (Ahmad Badawi’s) son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, whom nobody likes because he got where he is through family ties...”

Khairy is now the Umno Youth chief but has not been given an administrative post in Najib’s government despite being seen as one of the shrewder politicians in the country.
As for Najib Razak, he is an opportunist. Although he has not been critical of Singapore, he will not hesitate to go in that direction if it is expedient for him to do so. Najib’s political fortunes continue to be haunted by the murder scandal,” Ho had reportedly said.

Ho, 56, was head of Singapore’s civil service, until he retired on August 31 this year. He is now a senior advisor to the Centre for Strategic Futures that he had help set up to strengthen its public sector.

Kausikan was recently promoted one step to permanent secretary in the foreign affairs ministry on September 1.

Koh, 73, is special advisor to the Institute of Policy Studies. A law professor at the National University of Singapore, he is also the island republic’s ambassador-at-large and was part of the legal team representing Singapore in the Pedra Branca dispute case with Malaysia.

The leaked cables will give ammunition to hawks in the Malaysian government and Umno who believe that it is unproductive to have good relations with Singapore, whom they describe as calculative and condescending.

Friday, December 10, 2010

WikiLeaks a la Malaysia

By Tay Tian Yan

December 10, 2010
DEC 10 — Julian Assange was arrested, but the leaks go on...

Malaysia is hardly mentioned in the 250,000 confidential cables so far released.

Why only countries like the United States, Britain, China and North Korea alongside a couple of distinguished figures in the likes of Azerbaijan’s first lady and Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew can claim to have secrets?

Are you trying to hint that Malaysia is immaterial? Or Malaysia’s secrets are too hard to decipher? Or the country simply does not have any secret at all?


Since many countries have maintained diplomatic relations with us, and the diplomats from these countries need to submit regular reports to their parent countries, by logic there should be a multitude of confidential cables.
To avoid excessive embarrassment on the part of WikiLeaks over the lack of decoded confidential cables from Malaysia, I have drafted a cable purportedly sent from an embassy here back to the parent country just for your perusal.
Subject: The Malaysia you may not have heard of

From the investigations carried out in secret by the Embassy staff, we have discovered some secrets many people are not aware of in Malaysia.
Malaysia is actually one of the wealthiest nations on Earth, whose people enjoying living standards far exceeding those of many developed states.
In this resourceful country, daily necessities are inexpensive, and everyone can afford relatively lavish life.

For instance, a politician hailing from a humble family can afford a one-acre Balinese mansion having worked only a few years as mentri besar (equivalent to our Governor).

According to the politician in question, the two plots of land with a housing unit is worth only RM3.5 million, about US$1.1 million, a price deemed impossible elsewhere in the world.

Although he has some minor problems at this moment, and will have to explain some of his transactions to the court, he appears completely calm, maintaining that all has said is true.

He was a small-town dentist, a profession he claims has brought him RM60,000 a month (way higher than what our President makes) before he came to politics, and it was with this income that he built himself the posh mansion.

We can deduce from here that dentists are indeed in high demand in Malaysia, and the Embassy suggests that a few dental colleges be set up here to cater to the rising demand.

Sure enough we cannot assume that the income has been derived from his political career.
Malaysian politicians are known for their utter incorruption, which the authorities have said is of a level comparable to Hong Kong.

Moreover, residential units are extremely cheap in this country. A deputy minister has told the

Parliament housing prices rise only a meagre 3.5 per cent over the past 20 years, most definitely the lowest in the world.

The Embassy suggests that we urgently send a delegation to Malaysia to study its housing price policy.

Besides housing, Malaysia also boasts one of the highest car ownerships in the world. Having a few cars parked in the porch of a residential house is a common scene in this country.

The country is home to two national carmakers churning out vehicles almost identical to

Japanese cars in design at half the cost.

The Embassy therefore also concludes that a study tour of Malaysia’s automobile industry is both relevant and imperative.

The extravagance of Malaysia is best seen in its burgeoning tourist industry. Malaysians, in particular politicians, can be seen everywhere from London, Sydney to Shanghai, many are generous grabbers of landmark properties in these leading metropolises.

The Embassy therefore suggests that we build more luxurious mansions in our country, and group them under a specified Malaysian Housing Zone. —

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shahidan if you have nothing to do better do nothing!!!!!!!!

Another stupid politician who used his head to fart!!!!!!!

These are the politicians who bring Malaysia backward..... 

By Bernama (not Apa nama)

Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim today called for the blocking of the Facebook social networking website if its contents continue to pose a threat to national security.

He said a Facebook account holder was found to have taken advantage of the technology to insult Islam and leaders of Malaysia.

“If the website content poses a threat to national security and insults Islam, then it is unnecessary to have Facebook,” he told reporters after accompanying Perlis Facebook Association committee members to lodge a report at the Kangar police station on the insults hurled at Prime Minister Seri Najib Razak and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on a Facebook page.

The report was lodged by the association’s deputy president, Mohd Faizuddin Ismail, at about 5.30 pm.
Shahidan said a report would also be lodged at the State Islamic Religious Department as the holder of the Facebook account had also insulted Islam, and added that the insults hurled at Najib and Mahathir were discovered by a member of the association on November 29.

Shahidan, who is Tambun Tulang assemblyman, said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the Malaysian Islamic Development Department and the National Fatwa Council should act against the holder of the Facebook account. — Bernama

Monday, December 6, 2010

Khir Toyo oh Khir Toyo !!!!!!!!!!!

 Former Selangor Menteri Besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and was charged over alleged land fraud today

Zoro unmasked called it dog and ponny show....?????

I have same feelings with Nik Nazmi who tweet this.....

niknazmi RT @amuse_gueule: Rem the corruption case against minister Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam which came just before the 2004 ...

It is  just a political gimmick before election?

Let's wait and see!!!!!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Rakyat Selangor, Jom pergi ramai ramai Ahad ini.....

In 1997, the Barisan Nasional state and federal governments began privatising the water industry in Selangor. Then Menteri Besar Muhammad Taib chose the treasurer from his Umno division, Tan Sri Rozali Ismail to be the main beneficiary of this privatisation exercise.

By 2010, the amounts of losses generated by leakage and corruption in the private water companies have now run into the hundreds of millions. Amongst the many questionable financial practices found in the private water companies are:

1. An audit report on Syabas showed more than 72% of contracts, worth RM 600 million in total, was awarded to companies chosen through direct negotiation not by open tender process. Also, RM 325 million was found to be ‘missing’ in discrepancies between Syabas’ public accounts and the records of contracts awarded from 2005 to 2007.

3. In June 2005, Syabas contravened the terms of their concession when they imported RM 375 million worth of pipes from an Indonesian company instead of sourcing them locally. The Indonesian company was owned by Tan Sri Rozali Ismail, the CEO of Syabas.

4. Tan Sri Rozali Ismail’s salary is RM 5.1 million a year or RM 425,000 a month.

5. The four water companies have a combined debt of RM 6.4 billion. The federal government has given Syabas a soft loan of RM 320 million. The total interest on this 20 year loan is RM 250 million, and Syabas will not be required to pay a single sen of this amount. Instead, this cost will be fully borne by Malaysian taxpayers.

In light of this appalling financial mismanagement, the Selangor state government has prevented Syabas from raising water tariffs by 37%, and is now endeavouring to reacquire all water concessions from the private water companies. Their goal is to eliminate the element ofprivatised profit and socialised losses, stop the corruption and leakage, andensure quality delivery of water at affordable rates. This move requires public and support and pressure to succeed.

Have you grabbed a copy of Selangor Times?

Selangor Times to hit the streets on Friday
Maria J. Dass
SHAH ALAM (Nov 23, 2010): Klang Valley residents will have another avenue to voice their concerns when new community newspaper Selangor Times hits the streets on Friday.
A total of 100,000 copies of the free weekly will be distributed every weekend at malls, LRT stations, 7-Eleven outlets and neighbourhood hubs.
The focus is on community concerns, information on policies, and issues that affect the people and neighbourhoods in the Klang Valley. These include traffic and security problems, environmental and wildlife issues, licensing and land matters among others.
Its editor Chan Kok Leong said: "There will be no politics in this paper, only local and community issues.

There is a saturation of national news in the local dailies, but people don’t get much information on the issues in their communities and this is our niche, and will set us apart from the dailies."

The former journalist of The Edge Financial Daily said: "Our aim is to be the voice of the people – even if they are critical."
Clogged drains, potholes, street lights and other problems that plague the community will be scrutinised and brought up to the relevant authorities for answers, said Chan.
In addition, the 24-page English language paper, with an eight-page Chinese language pull-out, will have opinion pieces, sections on culture, features and community activities like neighbourhood events, he said.
Chan said the paper is funded by a businessman and has a licence from the state government.
Asked about the perception that the paper would be reflective of the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government, he said: "We do not answer to Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim or any political party," he said.
The aim of the publication was to quote both sides of a story, be it from state or federal authorities, he added.