Why Malaysians choose to stay put in foreign lands

Saravanan Forever

Modified 21 Jan 2019, 10:46 am

LETTER | In December 2014, the South China Morning Post published an article that reported that many Muslim Malays have emigrated. At the time, Umno was the government. Many Malay political parties started to panic over the article. The politicians during that era started to please the Malay majority, requesting them to return home.

The same news portal claimed that about 400,000 Malaysians had left the country in 2014. Many left for Singapore, Australia, US, UK and Canada. The number of Malaysians who chose to seek new homes abroad could be bigger if we include the numbers who also left after Merdeka. I estimate four million Malaysians have migrated.

Many of them who migrated are professionals. Although they love their motherland, it is unlikely that they have any plans to return home. This is really very sad. All these hard-working Malaysians left because they were fed up of the mismanagement in Malaysia.

The Umno government at the time started to panic over this exodus of the Malays, but it was not concerned to see that a large number of them who migrated were Chinese and Indians.

The country seemed to be not too concerned with the minorities because, in its view, it was all about who was going to form the majority in Malaysia. In the 1980s during Dr Mahathir Mohamad's tenure, he asked the Malays to have more children to strengthen the Malay population and consequently all help was rendered to them. In the process, the minorities have been left behind.

In August 2018, after Pakatan Harapan won the general election and formed the government, Mahathir and some DAP leaders issued a press statement, urging Malaysians who migrated to come back and make Malaysia strong again. But till today, as far I know, not many Malaysians abroad have heeded the call.

These Malaysians cannot be blamed for ignoring the call. Many feel that there are no equal rights in Malaysia. On the other hand, their new homeland gave them equal rights. The current government is not making more serious efforts to correct the situation, which the Umno government had failed to do.

When we read the daily Malaysian news and social media postings, we overseas Malaysians do not see any changes being made to tackle racism. If a survey is conducted to see which country is the most racist in the world, I personally think Malaysia will make it to the top 10. 

The racism in Malaysia is regrettable. It was not like this 35 years ago. Then Malays, Chinese, Indians and other races used to live harmoniously. Today, racism has reared its ugly head. Something has gone wrong.

The authorities were supposed to play a greater role to keep the country on a steady course but, unfortunately, they have been playing the divisive race card for the past 60 years. The impact of racial politics on the country is damaging. It has spawned hatred among Malaysians.

In the past, many police reports have been lodged against those playing up racist sentiments but very little action had been taken.

We should stop hating each other and build the country again. But how can this be possible when there is no effective action from the authorities and politicians? The country is sliding down and will in time become unstable.

Like a weighing scale, when one side (the majority) tips the scale, the other side (minority) will suffer. The minority will feel that there is no fair distribution of wealth. This will lead to growing dissatisfaction, which can eventually tear apart the national fabric. The best course is to see both sides evenly balanced.

The current leaders should take care and treat the people of Malaysia like their own children. Politicians should take drastic action to eradicate racial politics and ensure that everyone is equal.

When everyone is treated equally, there will be motivation to work hard in this beautiful country. But now we are sharing hatred.

To stop hatred and discrimination in Malaysia, the country's lawmakers should urgently implement anti-racist and anti-discrimination policies. Because of the anti-racist policies being practised overseas, many Malaysians are able to survive without any problem.

There is no other way for Malaysia to attract Malaysians living overseas. The country must implement such laws and the police must charge anyone who incites racial hatred.

If the authorities do not wake up and act fast, no doubt more Malaysians will migrate.

As a Malaysian who is living in a foreign land, I would like to see Malaysia become great again. The authorities including politicians and the police must work towards this end.

This article is not to hurt anyone's feelings but to tell how Malaysians living abroad feel about Malaysia. There must be a change for the better.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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