Malaysia still suffers from a higher-than-average diaspora and brain drain, says the World Bank, with over 1 million of its citizens living in Singapore, Australia, Brunei and the United Kingdom, as well as the United States, Canada and New Zealand. Singapore accounts for over 50% of that total.

How it handles the loss of talent and its ability to return it will impact Malaysia’s journey to rich-nation status, said Philip Schellekens, the World Bank’s senior economist for Asia as he released its Malaysia Economic Monitor – Brain Drain report. Presently, the diaspora is ‘geographically concentrated and ethnically skewed.’ He recommended boosting productivity, revamping the education system and strengthening inclusiveness to produce a viable meritocracy were all necessary steps for Malaysia to attract and retain talent, including its own.

The government is already attempting to bring back professional workers through its Talent Corporation, adding financial incentives like a 15% flat tax rate and bond transfer program for Public Service Department scholars. This, plus skilled job creation from Malaysia’s 6% annual GDP growth, would be enough to solve the problem by 2020, it said.

source & article: Business Times, World Bank