Our government has recently been trumpeting Talent Corp, an organisation dedicated with the task to head-hunt Malaysians working and residing overseas and enticing them to return to Malaysia to contribute to nation building. While I do appreciate the whole idea of fishing our people back home, I am highly skeptical of the success of such a programme for one reason as identified by TheStar:
True meritocracy has to be practised in every sphere of activity, with transparency in every stage of discussion and negotiation. These would range from open tenders for public projects to full accountability for a range of activities, including government departments and agencies as well as the selection process of student scholarships for families.
There should be no favouritism on any basis other than material need. Where such things as academic achievement and promise are equal, any advantage or preference accorded to individuals must be founded only on personal need and family capacity.
Our government has had similar programmes in the past but they all focused on money – through the offer of APs and other incentives. However, the harsh reality is that things are more than just about money. Focusing on monetary incentives only delay the inevitable as these expertise will quickly grow jaded with the local work culture and decide to return to foreign shores.
Also, while bringing home talent from overseas is important, I hope that the government does not neglect those talents who are already at home. There are a lot of skilled people in Malaysia who are also being subjected to the inane local work culture and grow jaded by the day. It becomes harder and harder for such talent to justify staying home and they will leave after a while.
To succeed in luring them home for good requires Malaysia to replicate the same kind of standards all-round. Recognising the importance of the contributions of these Malaysians and their spouses, regardless of race, religion and nationality, is an important step forward.
I honestly hope that this proves to be a catalyst in improving our local work culture. If it does, we will be able to exploit both sets of talents – those returning from overseas and those whom are already here. We need to be ready to cast aside a lot of our perceived Asian values if we are to succeed in this.
Ageism, racism, and xenophobia must all GO.