ENG to CH translation: Why Do Malays Vote with Their Feet 爲何馬來人用腳投票 (Malaysiakini 25 Feb 2010)

Link: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/124652

Malaysia’s brain drain appears to be picking up speed. According to a recent parliamentary report, 140,000 left the country, probably for good, in 2007.

Between March 2008 and August 2009, that figure more than doubled to 305,000 as talented people pulled up stakes, apparently disillusioned by rising crime, a tainted judiciary, human rights abuses, an outmoded education system and other concerns.

The general assumption is that Chinese and Indian Malaysians form the majority of those abandoning the country of their birth because ethnic Malays consider them ‘pendatang’ – aliens in a Malay land, regardless of how long they have been in the country.

However, increasing numbers of Malays have already emigrated as well, or are seriously thinking it, dismayed by corrupt practices as well as the rigid confines of Islam and the rise of fundamentalism embodied in the revelation on Wednesday by Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein that three Muslim women had been caned in Kajang Prison in Selangor on Feb 9 for having had illicit sex under shariah law.

In 2000, according to figures compiled in 2007, 40 percent of Malaysian emigrants headed for Singapore – at the same time Singaporeans are headed somewhere else. By one estimate, the number who put the Lion City behind them is as high as 15 percent of annual births. In 2006, the Transport Minister, Raymond Lim, expressed concern that 53 percent of Singaporean teens would consider emigration.

One website survey put Singapore’s average outflow at 26.11 migrants per 1,000 citizens, the second highest in the world – next only to East Timor.

Of the other émigrés, 30 percent go to OECD countries (Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada and Britain) 20 percent to Asian countries (Brunei, Philippines, Indonesia) and the rest of the world (10 percent). Malaysian Employers Federation executive director, Shamsuddin Bardan, said in an interview that 785,000 Malaysians are working overseas. Unofficially, the figure is well over 1 million.

Nor are people all that is leaving. Asia Sentinel reported that there has been an exodus of money from Malaysia on a scale which surpasses that which occurred during the Asian crisis. The decline is also reflected in a sudden decline in base money supply – even while, thanks to Bank Negara, broader M2 has continued to grow modestly.

A major problem is the flight of graduates. As early as 2004, former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was becoming concerned, pointing out that as many as many as 30,000 thought to be working in foreign countries, many of whom had held scholarships in top universities from the Malaysian government but chose to stay overseas at the end of their studies.

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad demanded that other countries pay Malaysia for having seduced them to stay, “since, by right, the graduates’ training and knowledge should be called intellectual property.”

The typical reasons are well-documented: improved employment and business prospects, higher salaries, better working environments, greater chances of promotion and a relatively superior quality of life.

Three personal stories

Three Malay women put a personal face on statistics in conversation with Asia Sentinel, sharing their decisions to emigrate. Two are graduates of overseas universities, the third is from a local school. Their decisions to leave were made, they say, after a lot of soul searching. But for these women, money and economic incentives were not the end-all. Their names have been changed to protect them.

Anita claims to have left because of her sexuality. She graduated from a university in the United Kingdom but continued with a post-graduate degree course. At the end of her studies, she worked in a multinational corporation in London and is now a department head. She was recently married, in a civil ceremony, in the UK.

A Malay, Anita is naturally Muslim. Her partner is another woman, Nadia, an Iraqi Jew. They met as undergraduates. For a decade, the two made the annual pilgrimage to Malaysia to visit Anita’s ageing parents, Anita says. When in Kuala Lumpur, they are regular patrons of lesbian joints in Bangsar. After the Malaysian National Fatwa Council issued an edict banning lesbianism in 2008, Anita travelled alone.

Nadia dislikes the risk of being ‘caught’. The clues to their sexuality are their short cropped hair, Doc Marten shoes, preponderance of masculine clothes and, on closer inspection, their identical wedding rings with each other’s names inscribed. Anita is in self-imposed exile because her partner will not be allowed to reside in Malaysia.

Although male homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and sodomy incurs a punishment of 20 years jail, Malaysia’s civil code does not ban lesbianism. Malaysian men are just so big-headed that they cannot imagine any woman not wanting to sleep with a man.

“It is unacceptable to see women who love the male lifestyle including dressing in the clothes men wear,” said Abdul Shukor Husin, the Fatwa Council chairman.

Perak mufti Harussani Idris Zakaria says that the council’s ruling was not legally binding as it had not been passed into law. He wants tomboys to be banned because their actions are immoral. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a law or not,” he says.

Living in a goldfish bowl

In 2000, Malaysia had around 80,000 official expatriates. By 2008, this figure had shrunk to 38,000 as the collapsing global economy cut into trade and thus trade and Malaysian exports.

When Bibi worked in an electronics factory in north Perak, little did she foresee marrying her expatriate quality control engineer. After his conversion to Islam and their subsequent marriage, he attempted unsuccessfully to gain permanent residence.

He claims to have spent a small fortune on lawyers, on ‘proof’ and photographs for the application process, and several trips to the immigration offices to be ‘verified’. He claims that one low ranking government official even offered him a birth certificate for RM60,000, as a pre cursor to a ‘red’ identity card, which would help facilitate the permanent resident status.

When Bibi’s husband’s work permit expired, he attempted to form a trading company. He travelled to the border every few months to renew his immigration-social visit pass, while he explored this avenue.

He was ineligible for a sole proprietorship and although he could form a limited company with 51 percent bumiputra ownership, he found that for one reason or another, it was not viable. Local partners wanted maximum profits for little or no work. A Caucasian, he was seen as a cash cow, he says.

In addition, the Perak town they lived in was very provincial. Had he lived in Kuala Lumpur or Penang, he could be anonymous, like the expatriates married to Malay women in these cities.

As an expat convert in his local town, the Malays expected him to uphold Malay values and scrutinised his every move, right down to his religious obligations. He was disillusioned with living in a goldfish bowl and both he and Bibi left for Europe.

40% of M’sian experts work in US

According to one local daily, the number of Malaysian researchers, scientists and engineers working overseas exceeds 20,000 with 40 percent of them in the United States and 10 percent in Australia.

When Ida graduated from Australia with a chemical engineering degree, she worked in a chemical plant in Selangor. Her friendship with a chemist blossomed into love, with talk of marriage. There was one problem – Anthony was a Catholic.

He dutifully presented himself at the mosque for ‘agama’ lessons in preparation for his conversion. The imam never appeared for their pre-arranged appointments. Frustrated with being let down repeatedly, he stopped going. His lucky break came when he was offered a job in a neighbouring country. Ida joined him.

She was free from parental and family pressures, he from the religious zealots. They married. He retained his faith, she remained a Muslim. They started a family and have since emigrated to New Zealand. Recently, she embraced Catholicism.

Malaysian emigration has critical policy implications. There are questions over what will happen when overseas students receive employment offers in the country where they are studying, when skilled people leave Malaysia, when pensioners retire abroad (the silver economy) and the nation registers an increase in unskilled foreign workers but a decrease in skilled expatriates.

The challenge for policymakers is to harness the economic and political potential of this largely ignored diaspora. There is no point pretending Malaysia does not have a serious problem. The
incentives to reverse the brain drain and attract those who are abroad must be reviewed, as they are currently ineffective.

For many like Anita, Bibi and Ida, it is not just politics and racial discrimination but also religious and social pressures that drive them away.

原文:Mariam Mokhtar
翻譯:姚文傑

LINK: http://www.malaysiakini.com/columns/125189
馬來西亞似乎有越來越多人才外流了。根據最近一份國會報告,2007年有14萬人離開大馬。他們或許就此一去不回頭。
在2008年3月至2009年8月之間,移民人數增加超過一倍,達到30萬5千人。很明顯地,他們之所以收拾包袱離開故鄉,是因爲對犯罪率上升、腐敗的司法制度、侵犯人權、過時的教育制度等等現狀覺得大失所望。
大家一般的印象是:離開祖國馬來西亞的大多是華裔和印裔,因爲不論他們在這裡住了多久,馬來人還是會認爲他們是外來移民(pendatang)——馬來領土上的外國人。

回教極端化讓馬來人也移民
然而,與此同時,我國也有越來越多馬來人移民,或者考慮著要移民。看著國內貪污成風、一成不變地限制回教、原教旨主義崛起的情況,他們灰心了。上星期三,內政部長希山慕丁披露,三名回教徒女子涉及通姦,觸犯了回教法,而於2月9日在加影監獄被鞭笞。這意味著原教旨主義的崛起。
根據2007年的資料,四成的大馬移民移居新加坡,與此同時,新加坡人卻移居其他國家。根據估計,離開獅城的人數相等於該國一年新生嬰兒的百分之十五。在2006年,多達百分之五十三新加坡青少年考慮要移民,新加坡交通部長林雙吉(Raymond Lim)亦曾關注此事。
有一個網路民意調查顯示,在新加坡,每一千人就有26.11人移民,移民率之高在全球僅次於東帝汶。

國外工作大馬人達百萬之眾
大約30%的大馬移民在經濟合作與發展組織國家(OECD countries)定居,例如英美紐澳加;20%移民到亞洲國家,例如汶萊、菲律賓、印尼;10%則移居其他國家。馬來西亞雇主聯合會執行董事三蘇丁峇丹在一項訪問中透露,在國外工作的馬來西亞人有78萬5000人。至於非官方資料,則預測在海外工作的國人遠遠超過一百萬人。
想要離開我國的,其實並不只是人才,就連鈔票也想要跑路了。根據《亞洲前哨報》(Asia Sentinel)報導,我國資金外流程度超越了亞洲金融風暴的水準。貨幣供給遽減反映了資金外流現象,然而,多虧國家銀行撐腰,貨幣供給依然持續適度成長。

留學生選擇滯留海外不歸
在海外留學的大馬人選擇不回國確實是個大問題。早在2004年,前首相阿都拉也曾關注此事。他表示,我們有多達30萬國人在海外工作,其中有很多人是領著大馬政府獎學金出國深造的,但是在畢業後選擇留在國外工作。
前首相敦馬哈迪曾要求其他國家,必須因吸引我國人才留在當地而付錢給我國,理由是「大學生的培訓與知識也應被視爲智慧財產權」。
我國人才留在國外的原因,大家都再熟悉不過了:就業前程似錦、更多商機、待遇更優渥、工作環境更好、晉升機會更多、生活素質更高。


三個心路歷程故事

《亞洲前哨報》曾訪問三個馬來女子,讓她們敘述自己爲何要移民。其中兩人在外國大學畢業,另一個女子則在本地大學畢業。她們表示,經過了一番自我探索之後,她們決定要離開大馬。對她們而言,金錢與經濟因素都不是主因。爲了保護她們,她們的名字都已被修改了。
安妮達是因爲自己的性取向而離開的。她在英國某大學畢業後,繼續攻讀博士課程。博士班畢業之後,她在倫敦一家國際機構工作,目前擔任部門主任,最近也剛結了婚。

性向被排斥只有選擇離開
身爲一個馬來人,她一出生就是回教徒。她的伴侶名爲納迪雅,是一個來自伊拉克的猶太女子。她倆是在大學時代認識的。這十年以來,她倆每年都會回到大馬探望安妮達的年邁雙親,也常出入孟沙的女同性戀者場合。當全國回教法規委員會(National Fatwa Council)在2008年禁止女同性戀之後,安妮達就獨來獨往,免得引人注意。
納迪雅不喜歡冒著「被逮捕」的風險。透露她們性取向的裝扮,通常是留短髮、穿馬丁靴、多數穿男裝,她們的結婚戒指也都刻著對方的名字。安妮達的伴侶不可居住在大馬,因此她必須自我放逐。
雖然男同性戀在大馬是違法的,肛交的刑罰是坐牢20年,但是我國民事法典並未明文禁止女同性戀。大馬男人太自負了,他們無法想像世上有女人不想跟男人睡覺。
「女子偏愛男子生活方式、穿男裝,這是很難令人接受的,」全國回教法規委員會主席阿都舒庫爾胡先說道。
霹靂州宗教司哈魯沙尼表示,該理事會的規定還未在國會通過成爲法律,因此都沒有法律約束力。但是,「不管合法與否」,他都要禁止男人婆,理由是他們的行爲舉止不道德。


社會處處排斥外國女婿

在2000年,我國有8萬名外派雇員。到了2008年,我國貿易與出口受到次貸金融風暴影響,外派雇員人數就下跌至3萬8千人。
當碧比在霹靂州北部一家電子廠工作時,她根本沒想過自己會嫁給來自國外的品質控制工程師。那位老外工程師皈依回教之後,他倆就共結連理,但是男方還是無法取得永久居留權。
律師費、申請過程的「證據」和照片、到移民廳來回好幾趟的過程必須被「審核」,這些都是他破費的雜事。有一個低階官員曾跟他開價,以6萬令吉換取一張出生證明書。有了這張出生證明書,他就可以申請紅色身份證,如此一來,他就能得到永久居留權了。
碧比丈夫的工作準證逾期之後,他曾嘗試開貿易公司。在這段期間,他每隔幾個月就得出入境一次,以更新旅遊觀光簽證。
他並不符合經營獨資企業的資格。雖然他知道自己可以開一家擁有51%土著股權的有限公司,但是不管怎樣,他知道這是行不通的,因爲本地夥伴希望工作少,最好是不用工作,但又要求賺最多錢。他說自己身爲一個洋人,在這裡被視爲一棵搖錢樹。
此外,他倆住在霹靂州一個偏遠小鎮。如果他住在吉隆玻或檳城,他就如同在這兩座城市里跟馬來女子結婚的外派雇員一般,沒有什麼特別。
像他這般的外派雇員入鄉隨俗之後,同鄉的馬來人都期望他維護馬來社會價值觀。他的一舉一動、有否履行宗教義務,都被村人監督。他覺得失望透頂,就帶著碧比遠赴歐洲了。

希望皈依回教卻困難重重
根據一份本地報章,在海外工作的大馬研究員、科學家、工程師超過兩萬人,其中有四成在美國工作,一成落戶澳洲。
依達在澳洲考獲化工學位之後,任職於雪州一家化學工廠。她跟一位化學師墮入愛河,後來談婚論嫁時面對一個問題:他的先生安東尼是一個天主教徒。
他盡責得很,出席了準備皈依回教的宗教課程,雖然已經事先預約好了,但是宗教司並不曾赴會。宗教司爽約好幾次之後,他就不再出席了。後來,多虧幸運之神眷顧著他,他在鄰國找到了一份工作,依達就跟隨他遠走高飛。
從此以後,依達從父母與家庭的壓力中解脫了,安東尼則擺脫了宗教狂熱份子。他倆結爲夫婦之後,安東尼就重歸天主教懷抱,依達則依然是個回教徒。這個新家庭後來移居到紐西蘭,最近依達也信奉天主教了。
大馬人移民的現象將產生重大政治影響。當海外大馬學生選擇留在國外工作,當技術人員離開我國,當銀髮族在外國退休(影響我國銀髮經濟),當非技術勞工大舉湧入我國而高技術的外派雇員卻減少了,我國屆時將會發生什麼事?
這個移民潮現象被忽略了,控制移民潮所產生的政治、經濟影響,是我國政策決策者的挑戰。假裝馬來西亞沒有面對什麼嚴重問題,是無濟於事的。既然現有的吸引大馬專才回國計畫不見效,當局就必須檢討現有的獎勵計畫,以扭轉人才外流的劣勢。
有些人也跟安妮達、碧比和依達面對相同窘境,對她們而言,迫使她們決定離去的原因,除了政治與種族歧視之外,也還有宗教與社會觀感壓力的因素。