Ethnicity, Education and the Economics of Brain Drain in Malaysia: Youth Perspectives

  • Adam D Tyson The University of Leeds
  • Daasaratan Jeram Universiti Utara Malaysia
  • Vanitha Sivapragasam Universiti Utara Malaysia
  • Hani Noor Azlan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Abstract

This paper seeks to contribute to the debate over Malaysia’s brain drain by critically examining the role of education as well as the changing socio-economic pressures faced by younger generations. It is argued that specific features of Malaysian education and political economy, with their attendant racial fixations, are contributing to the country’s brain drain. Although there is a lack of consensus about the actual economic impact of the brain drain, the Malaysian government continues to dedicate substantial amounts of time, energy and resources into ‘talent’ initiatives with the aim of training and retaining domestic talent, while simultaneously luring highly-skilled foreign migrants to Malaysia and enticing the diaspora to return home. Drawing on interviews and observations from public universities and the burgeoning civil society sector in Malaysia, and supplemented by content analysis of recent films and theatre performances, this paper argues that most government initiatives have been undermined by a lack of foresight attributed largely to the straightjacket of Malaysian electoral politics and perennially ‘sensitive’ communal relations.

Author Biographies

Adam D Tyson, The University of Leeds

School of Politics and International Studies, The University of Leeds

Daasaratan Jeram, Universiti Utara Malaysia

College of Law, Government and International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia

Vanitha Sivapragasam, Universiti Utara Malaysia

College of Law, Government and International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia

Hani Noor Azlan, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Centre of Strategy, Politics and Security Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Published
2017-06-02
How to Cite
TYSON, Adam D et al. Ethnicity, Education and the Economics of Brain Drain in Malaysia: Youth Perspectives. Malaysian Journal of Economic Studies, [S.l.], v. 48, n. 2, p. 175-184, june 2017. ISSN 1511-4554. Available at: <https://mjes.um.edu.my/article/view/2850>. Date accessed: 22 sep. 2017.