Thursday, October 10, 2013

Emigration And Affirmative Action [UPDATED]

Everyone knows that reporting in the mainstream media is biased. Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones (excerpt):

Malaysia’s got talent, but they’re being driven away, mostly to Singapore – world economic report

The huge presence of foreign workers in Malaysia has led to static wages, according to the WEF report.

Affirmative action policies and an overreliance on cheap foreign labour have led to Malaysia's best and brightest leaving to find greener pastures, particularly in Singapore, according to a new report released by the World Economic Forum.

The Geneva-based body's Human Capital Index evaluates such things as quality of healthcare, infrastructure and education, in order to gauge a country's ability to develop a skilled workforce.

Its 2013 report ranks Malaysia at the 22nd spot in a list of 122 countries. Topping the list is Switzerland, followed by Finland, Singapore, the Netherlands and Sweden. Asean countries in the list include Thailand which is placed at number 44, Indonesia (53) and the Philippines (66).

The report notes that Putrajaya's affirmative action policies as well as cheap migrant labour have kept Malaysia from achieving a skilled workforce to compete with its smaller and richer neighbour, Singapore.

The presence of foreign workers, mainly from Indonesia and Bangladesh, has left business owners with little incentive to increase wages or upgrade operations to boost productivity, according to the report.

You can access the report here.

Here’s what the WEF’s Human Capital Report actually has to say about Malaysia:

Australia (19) and Malaysia (22) have almost identical scores on the Workforce and Employment and Enabling Environment pillars, but their performance within the pillars varies. Australia ranks poorly on its labour force participation of those over the age of 65, whereas Malaysia, the highest of the region’s upper–middle income countries, ranks very low for the Economic participation gender gap indicator. Malaysia performs well on most of the qualitative talent and training indicators in the Workforce and Employment pillar…

…and…that’s it. Nothing on affirmative action, nothing on brain drain emigration, nothing on low-wage labour driving down wages or productivity. Only the gender gap.

I’ll leave you to your own conclusions.


Apparently, the article was originally sourced from the Wall Street Journal. Read the original here, then compare with the edited version above. The WSJ piece is obviously written as an opinion piece, and while you might disagree with the opinions expressed, it is factually correct. The TMI version though…


  1. Brain drain kah, brain gain kah is of no great consequence. What makes for brain pain is figuring out why would a self styled loaded developed educated uncorrupted sophisticated enlightened urbanized globalised sanitized decolonialised low taxed super duper efficient clockwork orange dubbed Singapore would want to poach talent from a third world riff raff like Malaysia. I mean its a no brainer right for after all the flotsam who leave were educated in a rudderless , clueless, mindless, feckless, classless, spineless education system by racist, fanatical slime passing themselves off as teachers

    And its a brain strain trying to figure out why in the world would a country with two world classed universities plus top classed schools and colleges welcome these garbage when whiter than white Chingkies from China, red neck Ozzies mates, caste liberated Indian boys and countless other first world sophisticates and cosmopolitans are battering the gates to get into Shangri La

    I mean if you can have the best why settle for castaway shit. Personally, I wouldn't bat an eyelid if our pigs leave.....who cares they are pigs anyway, good for nothing but scrounging for shit.....but boy it amuses me to see a first world giant kneel to a third world Pygmy for scraps...... Some comedown don't cha think.....

    Meanwhile, enjoy this, courtesy of a Malay warrior from warriordom. AMelayu Bermaruah no less

    Warrior 231

    1. How to rob a bank (Maybank)October 12, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      Bagaimana untuk merompak Bank (Maybank)

      Ini hanya senario yang boleh jadi pengajaran

      A mempunyai syarikat Sapura
      B mempunyai syarikat Kencana.

      A. Bagaimana kita nak dapatkan wang dari Bank?
      B. Buat pinjaman lah.
      C. Tapi siapa yang nak bagi pinjaman 6 billion dengan syarikat kita sebagai cagaran? TEUKUN cuma bagi 5k saja.
      D. Guna kawan kita kat Maybank lah. Dia boleh lulus tanpa limit.
      E. Boleh kah Maybank bagi pinjaman bersandarkan saham kita?
      F. Tak perlu kalau kita buat sebagai jual beli. Kita panggil MERGER
      G. Bagaimana nak MERGER? Kalau kita merger sesama sendiri tak gunalah.
      H. Kawan kita di Maybank akan buat satu DUMMY company SapuraKencana sebagai Special Purpose Vehicle hah.
      I. Tak ada orang Bank Negara nak tanya sebab mereka pun tak faham apa itu SPV hehe.
      J. Maybank akan bagi pinjaman peribadi kepada SPV ni. Kita tak ada kaitan dengan SapuraKencana tapi SapuraKencana akan bagi kita 1 billion cash! muahaha..oops beli ! Mana SapuraKencan dapat duit tunai 1 billion nak bagi kita?
      K. Meybanklah yang bagi hehe..
      -Habislah saham kita?
      -Tak, SapuraKencana bagi balek semua saham pada kita.
      -Habis SapuraKencana dapat apa?
      -Habuklah...muahaha. Dia orang owner dummy je..
      L. Kenapa Maybank bagi tunai 1 billion pada SapuraKencana? Mmmm itu tak tahulah…
      M. Ye ke pinjaman peribadi?
      N. Yelah sebab Maybank tak pegang saham kita Pinjaman peribadi 6 billion ka terrer bro.
      O. hehehe Kita dah letak orang kita kat Maybank hehe PNB mana tahu. 6 billion small money je.
      P. Yang pinjam bukan kita tapi company baru SapuraKencana..
      Q. Memang bagus akal keling ko bro.
      R. Siapa tuanpunya SapuraKencana?
      S. Pandailah kawan kita kat Maybank cari pak sanggup jadi Director sementara je. bayar lah sikit 2 –3 juta.
      T. Boleh ke kita bayar balek bro.
      U. Buat bsines dengan Petronas bro. Bapak kau Penasihat Petronas! hehe Tak CEO Petronas tak faham.
      V. Yang penting kita ikut peraturan.
      W. SC dan Bank Negara tutup sebelah mata.
      X. PNB pun tak kisah duit orang Melayu bagi kita. Kita kan Melayu hehe..

  2. Not to worry people. Malaysia is not alone in this brain drain department. Israel suffers this alongside Malaysia on this. Just check out

    1. Virtually every country suffers from brain drain. It's just that many people don't bother to look for the data.

    2. Malays are Asia Red IndiansOctober 23, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      We should not be trapped into pseudo reports by european perspective.
      In Malaysia chinese and indian migration IS the problem!
      In Israel, its retaining Jews to live in their god forsaken isolation.
      Two vastly different issues.
      There is no such thing as affirmative action in Malaysia. What we have is protection of the natives Malays against colonial induced migration to protect colonial assets.
      The chinese and indians labourers have no right to citizenship. Anywhere in the world, they dont have automatic rights.
      The Malays are the Red Indians of South East Asia. Aliens migration threatened their society and survival.
      This has to be emphasised to whoever is writing the world bank reports.
      The Chinese in Malaysia migrate to singapore or western countries because its their nature as economic migrants.
      The US in fact is a country of migrants who had killed the native Red Indians. Now that is talking about mass emigration from Europe to the Red Indians countries.

    3. The chinese and indians labourers have no right to citizenship.

      You realise that with this statement you are repudiating our constitution. Just saying.

      The Chinese in Malaysia migrate to singapore or western countries because its their nature as economic migrants.

      That must be the reason why I run into so many Malays in Australia and the Middle East. Oh, wait...

    4. True its part of the Constitution but did the Malays made the Constitution? It was forced on them. And the Constitution have been amended hundreds of time. It could be a mistake by Tunku. It could be duressed on the Sultans. Either way if the nature of Malay culture and security of the Federation is at stake and the spirit of the Constitution is broken then it should be relooked.

    5. Ah, that's why the Alliance won over 2/3rds of Parliament seats right after Independence. Oh, wait...

    6. Voting be reviewedOctober 28, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      "In this enactment a person of Chinese nationality shall mean any person bearing

      bearing a Chinese surname commonly called a Soh or Sing who is a Chinese
      subject owning a natural allegiance to the Emperor of China. who has his domicile
      in the Empire of China or its dependencies."

      From the Gazetter 1914. The Chinese were never citizens of Malay States. Citizneships fo migrants had grave repercussion for the native malays. Their oil revenue were shared with bigger numbers. Their land taken away by migrants. Their government also can be taken through block voting etc...
      So migrations have real economic impact on the people of the country like the Malays.
      Either citizenships or voting rights need to be rellooked.

  3. Not to worry. See below how Singaporean
    Iove to remain in the country.

  4. TMI picked up this story (without attribution) from the WSJ.

    Perfect example of the dangers of rewriting stories as your own

  5. Somebody told me already, thanks. Rewrite is the operative word...there are significant differences in the articles.

  6. Dunno about that.

    What's for sure is that Singapore is quite picky about the foreign talent that it brings in.

    And the Malaysians who have chosen to work in Singapore are, more often than not, those who have graduated from NUS, NTU (world class, right?), SMU and the Ivy League and Oxbridge institutions.

    Anecdotal evidence tells me that this doesn't include graduates from UM, UTM, USM and other Malaysian public universities.

    But then the warrior has a well-known hard-on for Singapore, which must be downright frustrating, as the little red dot refuses to meekly disappear into the sunset.

    I am sure, Hisham, that your fellow professional economists in Singapore have set you straight on this!

    Or haven't they?

    1. @anon 7.30

      Singapore has ostensibly started restricting intake of foreign professionals at entry level because they compete with locals. But from the numbers, it looks more like they're restricting immigration of all types:

      Employment pass and S pass are for professionals, executives and specialists, while work permits are for low-skilled workers.

      There is indeed a bias towards high skilled workers - the proportion of E Pass and S Pass holders rose from 15.9% in 2007 to 25.2% currently. But since Dec 2011, SG has been adding more low-skilled than high skilled foreign workers.(-3k in E Pass, +40k in S Pass, +62k in WP).

      Note also that a quarter of the foreign workforce are construction workers, and another 16% are maids.

      BTW, my SG econ contacts confirm that there's an ongoing exodus of locals, largely due to cost of living and quality of life concerns.