Get real, Talent Corp — Brandon Chan
MAY 16 — Johan Mahmood Merican must be breathing something different from the rest of us. In an interview with the Singapore Straits Times, he said that rhetoric over race will not impact the efforts of his organisation, Talent Corp, to lure Malaysians back home.
In essence, he said Malaysians living abroad will look at the policies of the Najib administration rather than be influenced by the chatter over race which has dominated the national discourse.
I suppose he has to say positive things but without realism this Talent Corp venture is doomed for failure. And the signs are that Johan is in la-la land.
The majority of the more than one million Malaysians did not leave the country because the tax rate is uncompetitive or because public transportation is woeful or because the national education system is dismal. They left because deep in their gut they did not believe they would get a fair shake in this country.
If Talent Corp did some research, it would realise that the spike in migration numbers was noticeable when race relations were at their worst and the sense of alienation among non-Malays over their position in this country. Does Johan even believe that Malaysians in Singapore, London and Melbourne are excited about the ETP, NKRA or whatever.
Please-lah. All these men and women have heard and read about the MSC and the economic corridors and have seen the major gap between plans and implementation. They know that Bumiputera and Umno interests have to be taken care and that meritocracy will take a back seat to affirmative action imperatives.
They also know that the general feeling among Umno types and civil servants is that returning talent is not welcome.
But most of all Malaysians abroad increasingly cannot recognise the country they left. It would not have helped matters that both Prime Minister Najib Razak and former PM Mahathir Mohamad refused to accept a main point of the World Bank study that Malaysia’s brain drain was mainly the result of social injustice.
Now if the people of influence in government refuse to accept the underlying factors of the brain drain, how serious can they be of wanting to tackle the problem? The answer: not very serious.
These national leaders do not condemn the race rhetoric and increasingly right-wing tone of Malaysia. In fact, they seem to encourage it, allowing Ibrahim Ali and the mainstream media to get away with insulting non-Malays and non-Muslims.
Does Johan actually believe that Malaysian Christians working abroad are interested in coming back now that Utusan Malaysia has started a campaign against Christianity?
So I think given his interview with the Singapore Straits Times, we can conclude that Talent Corp is doomed for failure.
* Brandon Chan reads The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.