Malaysian diaspora, safety, and rebooting Malaysia

“And since I made it here,
I can make it anywhere
(Yeah they love me everywhere)”

- Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z & Alicia Keys

There are more than a million Malaysians working abroad. Malaysia’s population stands at about 29 million now.

Generally it is safe to assume that the million living overseas are all educated. Countries gaining from the loss toMalaysia: Australia, Brunei, United States, Britain, Canada and Singapore. I’m willing to believe that most are moving for a better future.

Better futures include but are not limited to: fair working hours, fair wages, fair maternity rules, great public school education for children, freedom to practice religion, social security, safety, better healthcare, a level playing field (meritocracy).

Out of these one million Malaysians (net loss of great minds), apparently 680 have applied to come home with TalentCorp (I think TalentCorp is missing out the fact that many left on their own accord and don’t exactly want to come back & people should focus on the talent that stayed back, but thats a point for another post). That’s 0.68% success rate. How many will leave to go back to their new adoptive countries?

Malaysians are resilient. The vast diaspora proves that. As I listen to Empire State of Mind, I see how all the countries above benefit from having Malaysians. Malaysians work hard, and if you can make it in Malaysia, you’ll work hard to make it in your new adoptive land. And you will succeed. The level playing field ensures this.

I speak as someone who spent years living abroad and coming home. I came back on the premise that I will use nothing that isn’t private (hospitals, international schools, etc.). There is however something that I can’t quite control and that is safety/security. (see totally cop-out response from home ministry about perception issues.)

The recent spate of attacks have gotten the Twitterverse at least talking about migrating. I think given the chance, many people just want to leave Malaysia. Anecdotally, many just say that Singapore is safer (and they have 46% of Malaysian migrants!). And this is truly sad because Malaysia is a beautiful country. There are so many pros of living in Malaysia. We also have one of the best passports in the world (in where we’re all Malaysian!).

I keep on thinking its time to change Malaysia. I’ve had this thought most of this year. We need better branding. We need better civic consciousness. We need to be Malaysian and united as one people. We need to be proud Malaysians. This change cannot come from the bickering politicians. It has to come from within. It has to be a people driven movement to reboot Malaysia.


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