Review programmes to attract Malaysian experts to return to the country.
DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw reiterates that the Central Government should review programmes to attract Malaysian experts to return to the country as part of the inclusiveness that is much emphasized in the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib's speech on 30.3.2010.
Dr Tan tries to absorb the meanings of the various aspects of the Prime Minister's speech in launching the New Economic Model (NEM) today.
In his speech, Najib spoke eloquently on the use of National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) report as a roadmap to a new Malaysia, saying:
"There is a need to change rent-seeking and patronage system that has wracked our old system and the NEM must overcome this.
"NEM will focus on inclusiveness where all Malaysians of all races will contribute."
Since the implementation of the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1970, we have repeatedly called for doing away with rent-seeking and patronage system. After 40 years, Najib promises that NEM must overcome it. We shall follow this up.
As NEM aims to take Malaysia to high income country with per capita income of US$15,000, from the current US$7,000 in 10 years. One of the steps is to attract as many experts to live and work in Malaysia, especially Malaysians who are working overseas. We do not know the actual number of Malaysians especially experts who work in other countries.
According to the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the Prime Minister's Department, there are 314,000 Malaysians working in Singapore. The Government would have to ascertain the details on Malaysian diaspora.
There are two programmes to invite Malaysians from overseas. Brain Gain Malaysia Programme is under Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry and Returning Expert Programme is sponsored by Human Resource Ministry. By 18 March, 2010, 622 Malaysians have returned. This is negligible.
Besides fluency in announcing NEM, Najib must look at the various programmes to attract Malaysian experts. For example, one of the hindrances is the delay in processing applications from potential returnees. Even if an applicant knows the rope, he or she may have to wait more than six months.
An eligible applicant who applies to other countries such as Australia or Singapore, may require much shorter time to get an answer to his or her application. He or she would get higher salary and allowances, permanent resident status with a view to citizenship and facilities.
Dr Tan Seng Giaw