Out of the 1.86 million Malaysians who have emigrated overseas, 1.13 million have moved to Singapore as of 2022, according to Malaysia’s Minister of Human Resources V Sivakumar, The Star reported.
Sivakumar, who is also deputy secretary-general of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), was speaking at an industry dialogue session organised by Talent Corporation Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on Mar. 7, attended by 20 industry players.
Questions on Malaysia’s brain drain issue and talent retainment were asked during the session.
Above the global average
Acknowledging that while brain drain is not uncommon, Sivakumar noted that 3.6 per cent of the global population have emigrated from their home countries.
He remarked that though the figure in Malaysia is "merely" 5.6 per cent, it was still equivalent to some 1.86 million people.
This differed slightly from the figures quoted by Bernama which was 5.5 per cent, while the global average was cited to be 3.3 per cent instead.
Sivakumar also asked rhetorical questions on how one should "pull back people who left to work abroad" and the "best way to offer certain attractive incentives", while keeping track of the pull and push factors that would make Malaysians emigrate.
According to him, the principal destinations for emigrating Malaysians are Singapore, the U.S., Australia, the UK and Brunei.
Calling the brain drain issue a "heavy burden", Sivakumar stated that the Ministry of Human Resources is coming up with measures to deal with it in the best way possible.
The issue of brain drain is not a new one in Malaysia.
In December 2022, Adeeba Kamarulzaman, the former dean of the Universiti Malaya (UM) medical faculty, said that at least 30 medical graduates leave Malaysia for Singapore every year due to unresolved healthcare worker issues at home.
The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) had also revealed last year that up to 900,000 of Malaysians come to Singapore to work in order to enjoy higher salaries, a stronger currency as well as more opportunities and lifestyle choices.
Top images via Unsplash/Mike Enerio and Facebook/V.Sivakumar