Malaysia is prepared to lose its talent through its race-based policies in order to maintain the dominance of one race, said Lee Kuan Yew in his new book which was launched tonight in Singapore.
And although Malaysia has acknowledged the fact that they are losing these talents and is making an attempt to lure Malaysians back from overseas, such efforts may be too little too late, he said.
“This is putting the country at a disadvantage. It is voluntarily shrinking the talent pool needed to build the kind of society that makes use of talent from all races.
“They are prepared to lose that talent in order to maintain the dominance of one race,” he said in the 400-page book called “One Man’s View of the World” (pic).
It features conversations between Lee and his long-time admirer, Helmut Schmidt, former leader of West Germany. They discussed world affairs when Schmidt visited Singapore last year.
In the book, Lee pointed out that Malaysia is losing ground and giving other countries a head start in the external competition.
About 400,000 of some one million Malaysians overseas are in Singapore, according to the World Bank.
When announcing the five-year plan for Malaysia, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Parliament in 2011, the government would set up a talent corporation to lure some 700,000 Malaysians working abroad back to the country.
But in his book, Lee said the demographic changes in Malaysia will lead to a further entrenchment of Malay privileges.
He noted that in the last 10 years, since the enactment of the New Economic Policy, the proportion of Malaysian Chinese and Indians of the total population has fallen dramatically.
“The Chinese made up 35.6 percent of the population in 1970. They were down to 24.6 percent at the last census in 2010. Over that same period, the Indian numbers fell from 10.8 percent to 7.3 percent,” he said.
He added, “40 percent of our migrants are from Malaysia.
“Those with the means to do so leave for countries farther afield. In the early days, Taiwan was a popular destination among the Chinese-educated.
“In recent years, Malaysian Chinese and Indians have been settling in Europe, America and Australia. Some have done very well for themselves, such as Penny Wong, Australia’s current finance minister.
“Among those who have chosen to remain in Malaysia, some lack the means to leave and others are making a good living through business despite the discriminatory policies. Many in this latter class partner with Malays who have connections.”
World Bank data for 2012 showed that the island republic has raced ahead of its neighbour, with gross domestic product per capita of US$51,709 compared with Malaysia’s US$10,381.
Najib had said Malaysia is set to become a high income developed nation as early as 2018, two years earlier than the targeted 2020.
Lee said in his book the separation of Singapore and Malaysia in 1965 marked “the end of a different vision in Malaysia on the race issue”.
He added, “Much of what has been achieved in Singapore could have been replicated throughout Malaysia. Both countries would have been better off.” – August 6, 2013.