PETALING JAYA: Former Najib Razak aide Abdul Razak Baginda has rejected DAP member Syerleena Abdul Rashid’s criticism of his advice to Malaysians to consider leaving the country for greener pastures, pointing out the nation was built by people who had migrated here for a better life.
The Centre for Global Affairs Malaysia (ICON) president said Syerleena appeared to have misunderstood what he meant, which was that no one should stop another from looking for better opportunities.
“People should not be critical of those who want to leave their country,” Razak told FMT. “If our forefathers didn’t leave China, India or Indonesia, we wouldn’t see the Malaysia we have today.”
He added that his grandfather was from China.
Last Sunday, Syerleena, who is assistant publicity secretary for DAP’s women’s wing, dismissed Razak’s advice as coming from an elitist disconnected from mainstream Malaysian society.
Razak had made the suggestion at a forum last week.
Syerleena said the advice served to show how little he knew about the “harsh” realities that Malaysians faced today.
She said Malaysia was already suffering from a brain drain and it was uncalled for to tell more Malaysians to search for opportunities overseas.
But Razak said people should have an open mind about seeking a better future outside Malaysia.
Moreover, he added, if a Malaysian made a name abroad, it would be a good reflection on the country.
“It’s not a zero sum game. Malaysians working abroad are still in some way contributing to society,” he said.