Sunday July 25, 2004

Pak Lah: Perks to woo our overseas-trained graduates

BY K. PARKARAN

LONDON: Better financial perks, favourable retirement age and terms of contract will be provided to lure back the estimated 30,000 Malaysian graduates working overseas.
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said opportunities and facilities for research and development, areas which these Malaysians said were lacking, would be made conducive to entice them under the nation’s “brain gain” campaign.
The Prime Minister said that looking at the issue objectively, there was an urgent need for Malaysia to improve the working environment and facilities to encourage them to return.
WELL DONE: Abdullah shaking hands with Lee after handling over a letter of commendation in London yesterday,as Deputy Lord Mayor of Westminster Kevin Gardner looks on.- Picture courtesy of Lennard's father Dr Lee Siow Ming.
“We must also show them that we have equal and quality opportunities for them to continue what they are doing,” he told Malaysian journalists on the final day of his three-day official visit to Britain.
Abdullah said the losses, in terms of knowledge and money, caused by the brain drain were considerable.
“In some cases, the graduates stay back on their own accord while others are lured by better offers.
“There are also those attracted to countries which have better facilities to do their research,” he said.
At a dialogue earlier, a student doing his doctorate studies claimed that academics from a neighbouring country had approached top students from Malaysia studying in universities here with offers of well-paid jobs and research facilities.
“That is tantamount to poaching,” replied the Prime Minister.
To a question on the quantum of losses suffered by the Government when its scholars did not return, Abdullah said it was huge but the intangible losses were much more as these were people with the acquired skills.
“Not only that, they go to another country and become our competitors,” he said.
The Prime Minister’s strong and consistent message to Malaysian students in all three countries he visited (the United States, France and Britain) was to “please come back after your studies, the nation needs you.”
Abdullah said students should have the culture of excellence and cited English Channel swimmer Lennard Lee, who is a medical student in Cambridge, as a fine example.
“When I met him earlier, I was told that his grades for the first two years can qualify for first-class honours.
“He excels in swimming at the same time. He should be a role model for Malaysian youths,” he said.
Later, Abdullah handed over a letter of commendation from the Government to Lee during a tea reception.


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