Malaysia should set up a brain-drain buster unit in the PM’s Department

MALAYSIA must have a programme to reduce the migration of highly skilled citizens as part of the policy to make the country great again.

Last Thursday (Dec 22), Malaysiakini cited former Universiti Malaya’s (UM) dean of medicine Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman as saying that Malaysia loses at least 30 of its best and brightest medical graduates from UM to Singapore, and that it costs the country almost RM1 mil per student to train.

Yesterday (Dec 25), Sin Chew Daily reported that Singapore has a policy to “grab” talents from Malaysia’s Chinese Independent Secondary Schools, and this is equivalent to 300-400 students a year since 2015.

Lim Kit Siang (Pic credit: The Star)

Apparently, these students proceeded to Singapore to continue their higher studies and later remain and help in the economic growth of the island republic.

Malaysia has been suffering from a severe brain drain since the 1970s as testified by the Malaysian Diaspora all over the world which number over a million of its citizens from all races and religions.

It is time for Malaysia to recognise highly skilled Malaysian talent especially in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) sectors as a key resource in its quest to harness a knowledge economy which plays a critical role to drive national economic growth and technological innovation of Malaysia.

Malaysia must have a programme to reduce the migration of its highly skilled citizens as part of the policy to make Malaysia great again, as well as to attract highly skilled talents to Malaysia.

There should be a special unit in the Prime Minister’s Department to stem brain drain in key economic sectors by conducting an aggressive policy to turn the five decades of “brain drain” into a “brain gain” situation.

For a start, the government should resolve the grievances and complaints of healthcare worker, including terminating all contract doctors.

This is because Malaysia does not need contract doctors as they should be absorbed into the public health and medical system.

The newly minted Health Minister should initiate a wide-ranging inquiry into why Malaysia had been such a poor performer in the COVID-19 pandemic when a global study on health in 2010 placed Malaysia as among the top 20 countries in the world.

This would also serve as the basis for a 30-year national health plan 2023-2053 apart from preparing Malaysia to be better prepared for the next global pandemic.


Retired DAP supremo and veteran lawmaker Lim Kit Siang was the former MP for Iskandar Puteri.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.                    

Main pic credit: The Asian Affairs                                       

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