17 September, 2010

One man's loss is another man's gain ?

Malaysia's loss, Singapore's gain

Malaysia has always been a major source of immigrants for Singapore. But there has been no official statistics over the years on how many Malaysians have immigrated to Singapore and become its citizens or permanent residents.

Recently, however, the Singapore Statistics Department released some details on immigrants to the republic. According to the data, one of every four Singaporeans is a foreigner. Among them are 386,000 residents, both citizens and permanent residents, who were born in Malaysia, 175,000 from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, 123,000 from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and 54,000 from Indonesia.

The figures clearly show Singapore's efforts in maintaining its racial composition ratio. Hence, it is not a surprise that immigrants from China form the second largest group of new immigrants

The more than 380,000 new immigrants from Malaysia do include Malaysians who are working or studying in the republic, which probably doubled the number of immigrants from China. This indicates how serious is the brain drain problem in Malaysia.

Another phenomenon is that an increasing number of Malaysian talents have been admitted into Singapore universities. For an example, 36 of the 50 students who recently received scholarships worth RM2.25 million from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) have decided to further their studies abroad and 27 of them chose Singapore.

How many of these 27 outstanding students would return and serve their motherland after finishing their studies?

Meanwhile, the Singapore government's immigration policy has triggered a controversy. It is particularly surprising that even though Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had spent half of the two and a half hours of his National Day speech explaining the policy, more than 60% of about 100 participants of a dialogue held on the next day still said that they were not satisfied with his explanation.

Even so, based on the needs of political and economic realities, it is believed that Singapore will still have demand for Malaysian talents in the next 10 years or longer. It is expected to continue absorbing Malaysian talents because it is easier for Malaysians to adapt to the Singapore society as they have similar cultural background. Also, Singaporeans find it easier to accept Malaysians. In addition, once the Malaysian talents are attracted by the fair policies of Singapore, they will settle down in the country.

I think that whatever obstacles preventing own talents from staying home or returning to serve the country should be identified and resolved, or the brain drain will continue to be an unceasing outward flow.

- Sin Chew Daily

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