I refer to Malaysiakini’s article ‘Fewer Malaysians returning under TalentCorp scheme’ (May 10, 2017).
I find nothing uplifting about receiving the news that the number of skilled Malaysians returning from abroad under Talent Corporation Malaysia’s (TalentCorp) programmes are sharply reduced, while its recruitment of foreign talents are on the rise?
And who are these foreigners?
As far as I am concerned, there is nothing to shout about of a report which showed that 90 percent of the foreign talent TalentCorp processed, including Malaysia Airlines’ current CEO, Peter Bellew, is a hallmark for the long-term best interest of Malaysia.
Sadly, many things never change in Malaysia, starting with truth matters.
I am certain that all of us, remember the ‘song and dance’ that covered the unveiling of TalentCorp which was established in 2011, under the Prime Minister’s Department to “address the availability of talent in line with the needs of the country’s economic transformation”, whatever that means in human language?
From the onset, I was among the constructive critics who raised alarms on this approach, on national television during the post-budget deliberations for that year, that evening.
The question raised is why give incentives for Malaysians to return when there are Malaysians who have stayed on, with dedication, passion, sacrifice, and contributing but never appreciated?
Even experts in fields where it is a first in Malaysia?
Do the ones who stayed on, in such tough circumstances, allegedly racist and indignified ecosystems, not deserving rewards?
And still wanting to stay on because of the passion but never given a contract post upon retirement.
What kind of logic and environment is this that is present?
As for Talent Corporation, of course, it is great fun, making tours and presentations in international hot spots, capitals, stay in impressive and expensive hotels and playing up the conversation afterwards in reports.
But many of us in the real world feel this is the typical knee-jerk reaction we usually see from seeming opportunists who refuse to address national grouses and impediments by addressing systemic approaches.
These days, those helming our tertiary establishments, even those who had on Malaysian taxpayers’ monies attained their academic credentials, today are indulging in policies and schemes that undermine academic excellence with their alleged racial bias and prejudice.
As Malaysia’s Asean/Apec Lead Consumerist, I would rather address the setbacks and weed out the brain drain, exodus, and national problems but not using the Talent Corporation model.
But the truth is, some want ‘quick fixes’, ‘graphs’, ‘statistics’ usually tailored as it is politically expedient?
They do not want to address, the ‘elephant in the room’, and anyone who tries to bell the cat gets crucified and dumped into cold storage?
But the fact is, if holistic change needs to be implemented then, there must be a massive change in national policies, mindsets, and to the present ecosystem that now breeds many versions of alleged racism, supremacy of race and religion.
Today, sadly, racism and bigotry are two pillars seen in new levels unheard and unseen in pre-and early post-independent Malaya and later Malaysia.
For now, Sabah and Sarawak are insulated from this, in view their population composition and 1963 agreement, which includes, their Immigration laws.
Let us get serious, Talent Corporation
How can you sell a country, when there are perceptions rightly or wrongly where local talents are seriously undermined, in fact, never appreciated by the system presently inculcated and breeding without any control?
I am certain the many ‘Napoleons and Brutuses’ within the system know only too well that I am alluding to them.
All for their own self-preservation and interests?
And are we not ashamed at ourselves and these policies, when we try to highlight the achievements of Malaysians who have excelled at various opportunities in a level playing field, in a country where they are adopted today?
Why are we trying to share in their hard work and achievements?
Like our local peribahasa - “Lembu punya susu sapi nak nama”.
When all we did is create and facilitate a breeding ground that resulted in our beloved nation losing talents?
Having said that - now more than ever, what we need going forward is an uncompromising national policy that entrenches stopping the intelligent and talented Malaysians from leaving the country at all costs.
We need to create an ecosystem and an environment that gives equal and fair opportunities to everyone, regardless of race and religion, by financing a world class education system devoid of political influence and agendas.
We make certain and get rid from the civil service, and other agencies, institutions, Napoleons both small and big, who practice race and religious bigotry and are hurdles to the establishment of a harmonious ecosystem for people of all races and creed to fulfill the rights, interests and visions of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s 1Malaysia.
It can never happen with this model.
The present concept of Talent Corporation is at best, ill-conceived, wasteful and hypocritical.
And this is why, I sincerely appeal to Premier Najib to set up a task force to re-look this entire programme, while addressing speedily the systemic issues that stiffens the retention of Malaysian talents.
DR JACOB GEORGE is president, Consumers Association of Subang & Shah Alam, Selangor (Cassa).