Thursday, August 4, 2011

Malaysians Leaving Malaysia

Malaysia is most in danger not when it is invaded, but when Malaysians themselves have lost faith in it.

By Farish A. Noor

According to Malaysia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Kohilan Pillay, "the number of Malaysians who have decided to up their roots and emigrate abroad has almost doubled this year. 3,800 Malaysians have given up their citizenship. 340,00 have left Malaysia since 2008. They have opted to leave the country of their birth."

Furthermore it has been noted that almost half of those who have left are professionals who have chosen to seek greener pastures abroad, citing better pay and working opportunities as well as marriage as the most common reasons given. Malaysia is the loser in this sorry equation, and though the right-wing communitarians among us used to quip ‘if you dont like it, leave it’, this sorry reply will sooner or later be exposed for the vain boast that it is. For Malaysians are indeed leaving, and many of them happen to be among the most precious human resource that the country cannot afford to lose.

For what is a nation, and what is Malaysia? Malaysia, it has to be remembered is not a patch of land where the mountains and trees realise that they happen to be part of a nation they are not even members of. Neither do the roads, bridges, buildings and flagpoles that litter our urban landscape make up the essence of what is Malaysia.

Malaysia is made up of Malaysians, and if and when there are no more Malaysian-minded Malaysians left then we might as well turn the lights off and call it quits. Malaysia exists as an idea, an ideal and a value only when there are enough people who regard themselves as Malaysians first, and who place citizenship and national belonging above all other concerns of ethnicity and communitarian politics. And right now, many of those Malaysians are heading for the exit.

Read more at: Migration as Protest: Why Malaysians Are Leaving

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