Tuesday March 12, 2013
CM: Brain drain will not affect plan to create maximum job opportunities
By VANES DEVINDRAN
KUCHING: Brain drain will not stand in the way of Sarawak government from going full speed ahead in its plan to create maximum job opportunities in the state.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said being distracted by this would not help the situation but rather make things worse if there were less job creations.
“As such we should push ahead for maximum employment. If we cannot find our own people to fill these spots, then get foreigners first. The foreigners would eventually leave and our people by then would have come home.
“The process of adjustment will take 10 to 20 years and in a democracy like ours, we must allow it,” he said during a question-and-answer session in his public lecture here yesterday.
The Chief Minister conceded that competition outside was great but he believed that sooner or later, Sarawakians would prefer to return home to work and when that happened, there would be jobs for them.
He said it was natural to lose the local people to overseas market but one must look at the bright side and that they would gain experience, making them a better workforce when they returned.
“I’m proud to say that more often Sarawakians will come back. So what we need to do is keep on expanding our economy, pick the right industries which will provide better pay for workers,” he said.
Taib recalled the day when the state first started 1st Silicon where quite a number of Sarawakians returned from places like Singapore even when the semiconductor foundry offered less than what their previous employment paid them.
He said the people were willing to come back because they knew they could save more at home given it was more expensive to live in countries like Singapore.
However in some cases, he admitted it was hard to compete with the packages offered by other countries, Australia for instance, where workers in demand were granted permanent residency status.
“You need to make allowances for this kind of competition,” he said.
Nonetheless, he stressed that Sarawak should not wait to have enough workers before they decided to attract the industries.
This, he said, would be tricky given the unpredictability of human nature.