By Dineshkumar Ragu, Free Malaysia Today (1 March 2022)
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia must improve wages for graduates and improve the social rights of its citizens if it wants to reverse the brain drain that has affected the country for many years, an opposition MP told the Dewan Rakyat today.
While debating the King’s address, Wong Chen (PH-Subang) said that despite having a high human development index, Malaysia is unable to exit the middle-income trap due to multiple factors, with the migration of graduates being one of them.
“Every year, we are producing talented graduates that are migrating to other countries like Singapore,” he said. “In order to ensure that Malaysia can become a developed country like Singapore and Taiwan, we need to create policies that will help retain our talents.
“What are the policies? (Well) the most important one would be increasing their salaries. If Singapore can offer wage rates that are three to five times more (than Malaysia), of course it would tempt our graduates to work in that country.”
He also said that graduates are leaving the country due to its politics, citing the diminishing freedom and human rights on a number of issues.
“We have a system that is unfair across races as well as within races. All these issues can be addressed if we have the political view to uphold social and individual justice.”
According to Wong, around 30% of graduates are leaving Malaysia due to sociopolitical factors, while the remaining 70% due to the wage factor.
He also said that there are roughly 1.2 million Malaysians working overseas with a majority of them having professional degrees.
“If these Malaysians have an average income of RM15,000 per month, the country’s economy and gross domestic product have lost RM216 billion in revenue, which is my conservative estimate, and RM54 billion in income tax revenue.
“To reverse the brain drain by at least 30%, Malaysia must consider increasing (the) wages of graduates.
“We also need to transform the economy into one that practices a system based on social needs that does not discriminate on the basis of race and gender,” he said.