COMMENT | Brain drain is a serious problem in Malaysia. It is also a global phenomenon that has captured the interest of academic researchers and governments since the 60s. However, this is not a trend that any country would like to see increasing in abnormally high numbers.
If we look at the very surface of the brain drain issue in Malaysia, some will attribute it to the poor execution of the affirmative action policies that meant well but ended up favouring a selected few in nearly all spheres of socio-economic life. And they would not be wrong, although the poor execution of the affirmative policy itself is a symptom of a much more fundamental problem - the quality of the country's stewardship.
Therefore, if we take these divisive policies as the first so-called ring-bell of a deeper structural problem of inferior country stewardship, we can historically trace it back to the tragic May 13 ethnic clashes in 1969 and the subsequent formulation of the affirmative policies.
Of course, not many studied the brain drain at that time, nor was there important data collected. However, the earlier estimates we see show us that in 1980 there were already between 76,000 to 110,000 highly-skilled Malaysian...