The impact of migration
By Ding Jo-Ann
(Pic by mirofoto / sxc.hu)
WITH the recent attack on churches, a Catholic school and a Sikh gurdwara,migration is likely to be on the minds of some Malaysians. Despite government assurances that "everything is under control", diminishing respect for rights as demonstrated by the "Allah" issue has naturally caused consternation among educated Malaysians.
At the same time, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak says Malaysia must become a "high-income" economy so that it can stave off decreasing prosperity and standards of living. Indeed, a government-commissioned 2007 World Bankreport on Malaysia's education system and economy says Malaysia has "no choice" but to change its economic model.
Malaysia, the report said, can no longer compete with the lower wages in developing countries like China and Vietnam.
But with mass migration and the loss of skilled Malaysians, is it realistic to expect Malaysia to compete with developed economies? Will enough skilled Malaysians stay on so that Malaysia can escape the middle-income trap?
Skilled workers crucial
Malaysian Institute of Economic Research executive director Datuk Dr Mohamed Ariff Abdul Kareem says skilled workers are crucial to move the economy up the value chain.
"When foreigners come looking to invest, they look for people with skills ... If skilled people are leaving to go elsewhere, this will be a spoke in the wheel for us," says Ariff in a phone interview.
Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Shamsuddin Bardan adds that while the number of unskilled foreign workers has increased, the number of skilled expatriates has dwindled.
For the rest of the article, go HERE.