Fewer Malaysians abroad taking up offer to return home


PETALING JAYA: In 2011, Talent Corp introduced an initiative — the Returning Expert programme — to woo Malaysians living abroad to return home and work to overcome the shortage of professional and technical experts in the country.

To woo this segment, the agency introduced several benefits, including a 15% flat rate on chargeable income for the first five years and tax exemptions for cars.

In 2013, 900 Malaysians returned home, but the number dropped to 606 in 2014. In 2015, it managed to draw only 616 Malaysians.

Last year, however, the figure dived to 398.

Talent Corp CEO Shareen Shariza Ghani attributed the declining numbers to the fact that the agency was not accepting applicants indiscriminately, adding that it was done according to the country’s needs.

“It is not about the numbers. We are more concerned about the quality.

“We want those returning to Malaysia to help address the country’s critical skills shortage,” she said at a media briefing here.

The shortages are in the sectors of oil, gas and energy (including petrochemicals), financial services (including insurance and Takaful activities), business, information and communications technology (ICT), global business services, electrical and electronics (including machinery, equipment and medical devices), as well as aerospace.

Some Malaysians also found it difficult to return home as their children were still either in primary or secondary schools, said Shareen, who took over the post in June 2016.  She was previously with Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

Those who took up the offer, she revealed, cited family as their main reason to return to Malaysia, followed closely by the need for employment.

“Once we make them aware that their talents are needed and there is a job waiting for them here, they usually consider relocating,” she said.

The average pay of those returning was RM30,000 per month.

One of the main requirements was that each applicant have 10 years’ working experience abroad.

She said since 2011, a total of 4,121 Malaysian professionals living abroad had been approved to work locally by TalentCorp. Of that number, 2,698 returned home to work in key sectors.

“From a survey involving Malaysians living abroad, 73% or 422 out of 578 indicated they would return home if they had suitable jobs.”

Apart from offering attractive benefits, TalentCorp, which falls under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Department, also attracts qualified Malaysians through LinkedIn, the employment-oriented social networking service.

TalentCorp is also working with public universities, lecturers, experts and employers to generate more local talent to address shortages under the Critical Occupations List.

“The initiative is to monitor mismatched skills and identify occupations that are sought after and hard to fill in key economic sectors. This will help us design courses in public universities that are sorely needed in the workforce.”

TalentCorp is also in the midst of profiling the talents of graduates and creating specific intervention programmes.

It is also identifying industry needs and matching jobs between graduates and local companies.