By LIM MUN FAH
Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
Sin Chew Daily
Some people describe the world phenomenon of competing for talents as the war for talent, a war that is most scarce of resources.
Undoubtedly, the competition among countries, in essence, is also the competition for talents. Therefore, governments around the world have been paying increasing attention to cultivating talents, attracting talents and retaining talents.
Basically, the Talent Roadmap 2020 recently launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has taken the line in setting the strategic objectives, namely optimising Malaysian talent, attracting and facilitating global talent and building a network of top talent.
To optimise Malaysian talents, graduates on government scholarships must secure employment with the public sector or an approved public sector company in Malaysia, starting this year.
To attract global talents, three major measures have been promoted, including approaching Malaysian talents staying overseas, facilitating Malaysian talents who return to serve the country and strengthening the welfare for global talents.
More specific actions include: granting the Residence Pass, a 10-year visa for 500 top professional expatriates from leading companies; collaborating with private sectors to approach and persuade Malaysian talents staying overseas to return and setting up websites to promote Malaysia's personnel policy.
We can say that the government has imitated every conceivable strategy and approach. The next step would be to wait and see the results.
Undeniably, Malaysia has always been a "defeated nation" in the war for talent. We are thirst for talent but ironically, the limited talents we have have gone, as if we are a nation with excessive talents.
Another painful experience of failure is, we used to have 200 talents returned and served in various government departments in 2001. However, only one stayed five years later!
The experience has taught us a lesson: the war for talent is cruel and unstoppable. In other words, it does not mean victory or the war is ended after a success in attracting talents to return and serve the country.
The most important point is, whether the talents have been treated appropriately when they are here? Have they been convinced that the implementation of the government's personnel policy is truly non-discriminatory, regardless of origin and race?
Singapore is the country that has attracted most of our talents and perhaps, you should ask those who chose to develop their careers in Singapore what they actually care about. Is it true that higher salary and better benefits the only reasons for them to stay there?
No. They are actually more concerned about whether there is a fair competition environment, a free and open research environment, and an environment attaching great importance to scientific research results.
Obviously, to implement the roadmap, we still need to overcome many weaknesses. The path to meet returning talents is still very far and long!