Why many Malaysians shine when abroad

Californian Mayor Jocelyn Yow (centre) used to study at SMJK Keat Hwa and migrated to the US after Form Five. — Mayor Jocelyn Yow/Facebook

While brain drain has drawn the attention of the Malaysian government, many are still moving elsewhere to fulfil their dreams.

HAILING from Alor Setar, Jocelyn Yow becomes the youngest mayor of Eastvale, California, at the age of only 25.

Her accomplishment has become a source of pride for her hometown.

Yow used to study at SMJK Keat Hwa, and migrated to the US after Form Five. She once said, “I’m proud of Keat Hwa today, and some day Keat Hwa will be proud of me.”

Indeed, she has set a shining example for her juniors here in Malaysia, telling the world once again that Malaysia does have plenty of talented people around.

It is not unusual for Malaysians to register enviable achievements overseas. Among others, a Malaysian virologist from Bidor, Perak, joined a Singapore team and successfully developed the world’s first coronavirus antibody test kit.

Several years ago, Malaysian Lam Shu Jie discovered a possible solution to antibiotic-resistant superbugs in Australia, and was named one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2016.

Additionally, there are many more Malaysian-born artists and directors who have made it great outside the country.

It is great that Malaysians have succeeded in various fields in the international arena. To a certain extent it manifests the “Malaysia boleh spirit”.

Nevertheless, as we take pride in these people’s exemplary achievements, perhaps we should also ask ourselves why so many talented Malaysians have decided to look for greener pastures elsewhere and only manage to shine brilliantly once they are outside this country?

In a highly competitive world, talent holds the key to a country’s success. By grooming high-calibre people and offering them the most optimal platforms to perform, companies can have their overall competitiveness and performance remarkably boosted.

Similarly, such people can help propel a nation forward in various sectors and make the country great and powerful.

Unfortunately, even though talent is such a precious and rare commodity in this country, it is so often treated with disdain here as many such people find themselves denied the opportunity to exert their full potential. As a result, many have opted to go elsewhere.

The seriousness of brain drain has drawn the attention of our government which set up TalentCorp some years ago in hope of bringing back our talents overseas.

But sadly, after so many years, such a scheme still fails to meet its desired goal.

There are plenty of reasons why talented Malaysians have wanted to go elsewhere to fulfil their dreams, but more importantly the government must think of ways to keep them here so that they will continue to contribute positively towards our society’s development and progress.

In short, the government needs to provide a conducive environment for them to live and perform here. All government policies must be established upon the basis of meritocracy and not other irrelevant factors.

This is to ensure that all talented Malaysians can exert their utmost on a fair and equal footing in realising their respective dreams.

In the meantime, the authorities must also have a foresight and open up opportunities for these people to maximise their expertise instead of holding down their creativity with all sorts of restrictions.

While the success stories of Malaysians overseas do serve as an inspiration to us all, more importantly we must keep them here so that they will shine in this country and brighten up our future. — Sin Chew Daily/ANN

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