Malaysians residing overseas have likely reached one million in 2010, indicating a serious brain drain from the country, a World Bank official says.Last February, the World Bank conducted an online survey of 200 Malaysians living abroad and found that social injustice is one of the top three reasons behind the country’s brain drain.
Social injustice is a concept relating to the claimed unfairness or injustice of a society in its divisions of rewards and burdens and other incidental inequalities.
The concept is distinct from those of justice in law, which may or may not be considered moral in practice, or from the concept of justice within a coherent ideological system, which focuses on just process rather than on incidental inequalities.
The World Bank also said that Malaysians are only willing to return if the government shifts from race-based to needs-based affirmative action policies.
In its fourth issue of the Malaysia Economic Monitor, the report stated that 60 per cent of the respondents found that social injustice as their main concern to migrate or return-migrate, citing unequal access to scholarships and higher education especially among the younger generation within the non-Bumiputera community.
Of those surveyed, 66 per cent found that lack of career prospects was a major factor and 54 per cent agreed that unattractive salaries as underlying factors in the Malaysian diaspora.
Statistics revealed in the report included a conservative estimate of a one-million strong Malaysian diaspora, largely located in Singapore, Australia, Brunei, Britain, the United States and New Zealand.
Of this, nearly 90% were of ethnic Chinese descent while for the diaspora as a whole, one-third had tertiary education with the rate of the qualified migrating having risen in recent years.
The report added that Singapore was the destination of 57% of those who had left.
Philip Schellekens painted a gloomy picture of the Malaysian brain drain situation today saying that it not only grew rapidly but is likely to intensify, further eroding the country’s already narrow skills base.
Schellekens said that the number of skilled Malaysians living abroad has tripled in the last two decades with two out of every 10 Malaysians with tertiary education opting to leave for either OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries or Singapore.
“Brain drain from Malaysia is likely to intensify in the absence of mitigating actions,” he said at the launch of the World Bank report titled “Malaysia Economic Monitor: Brain Drain”.
The report defined brain drain as the outflow of those with tertiary-level education.
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