Do scholarship recipients give back enough to society after graduation?

If this happens, Malaysia will not lack professionals such as doctors, scientists, physicists, psychologists and therapists, says David Yeoh.

The answer is “No”. Many scholarship recipients, after graduation, tend to look for lucrative jobs, mainly outside Malaysia. They prefer to spend their entire career working with a multinational company in a foreign country.

That is why Malaysia is losing top scholars each day to other neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. This is what we call the Malaysian brain drain.

Scholarship recipients should instead look at who gave them scholarships in the first place, and they should think of contributing back to society by serving and giving their best to their own country. If this happens, Malaysia will not lack professionals such as doctors, scientists, physicists, psychologists and therapists.

For its part, the government should look into ways of attracting scholarship recipients back to Malaysia to serve the country in good faith. The government should look into ways of doings this; it could discuss the problem with various NGOs, experts and professionals from other bodies as well as get feedback from the public.

A good example was Dr Lim Chong Eu, who dedicated his life in the service of society, especially Penangites, something which came from a far-sighted vision. Contributing back to society will lead to national development as well as self development in our daily lives. The nation will prosper and grow towards a higher level of productivity and efficiency.

Scholarship recipients must also remember the objectives of the scholarship given – to allow promising individuals an opportunity to complete their studies and acquire a useful education. Many families are unable to send their children for a university education due to the much higher cost of education now, and they have to depend on scholarships from the government or the private sector.

Finally, after getting scholarships, students must be able to contribute to and leave a lasting legacy for the country and humanity. In other words, we must not let other countries benefit from our best brains.

David Yeoh Beng Tatt is an Aliran member based in Penang.

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