Malaysian Migration to Singapore: Pathways, Mechanisms and Status


  • Yi-Jian Ho International Institute of Strategic Studies
  • Adam D Tyson The University of Leeds


ASEAN scholars, brain drain, Malaysia, migration, Singapore


The Malaysian brain drain and migration trends have become highly salient problems and the focus of numerous academic research projects and government policy studies. Building on the comparative approach to migration developed by Schiller and Caglar (2009), this paper argues that Malaysian migration discourse tends to focus on the highly skilled while overshadowing other forms of Malaysian migration. For instance, migrants are not simply Chinese-Malaysian, but rather there are multiple intersectionalities of migrants according to ethnicity, gender, age and class that must be considered. This paper also suggests that migration is insufficiently explained by conventional push and pull factors, which apply differently to different individuals and must incorporate mechanisms of migration. Finally, this paper attempts to demonstrate the increasing complexity of migration and the brain drain by contrasting the case of ASEAN scholars in Singapore with Malaysian low-skilled labour in Singapore.


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Author Biographies

Yi-Jian Ho, International Institute of Strategic Studies

International Institute of Strategic Studies- Asia

Adam D Tyson, The University of Leeds

School of Politics and International Studies, The University of Leeds