Malaysia may reverse its role

There is an interesting letter in Malaysiakini today. What attracted me to read the letter was the title:  Malaysia may one day supply maids to Indonesia.

The writer pointed out that Malaysia is not in the G20 nations which discuss periodically the world’s financial system and map out strategy and cooperation among these nations to deal with world financial problems.

The writer also pointed out that Malaysia is not in the N11, the so called Next 11 countries, which are countries that are supposed to be the next in line to become world economic powerhouse..

For your infomation, G20 consists of the following countries:

 Saudi Arabia
 South Africa
 South Korea
 United Kingdom
 United States
 European Union

While Indonesia is in the list of G20, Malaysia is not..Of course, we can argue that Singapore is also not in the G20, but do not forget, Singapore is one of the 4 tigers or dragons.

The Next 11 consist of these countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, and Vietnam . NOte that most of  these countries are below Malaysia in GDP per capita(except South Korea). BUt please also note that once upon a time, actually not so long ago in the early 80s, Taiwan  and SOuth Korea were also behind us and now they are far ahead of us.

So the contention here is that if we do not buck up, Malaysia is going to be overtaken by all these N11( south korea is already far ahead), and that while our neighbours are becoming richer than us in the future, Malaysians may have to go to these neighbouring countries to work as construction workers and maids.

It would really be unthinkable for our future generations to work as maids in the neighbouring countries.. But it could really happen, since if Malaysia does not buck up, we will very well be marginalised… pls read my article in 2006 ” will Malaysia be marginalised” which was quite widely reposted in many sites at that time.

At the present moment, so many Malaysians are already working overseas, but mainly in the top echelons of their professions, such as professors, scientists, doctors, engineers, nurses, businessmen, entrepreneurs etc…. This is because of brain drain, but as the country becomes more backward relative to our neighbours, the situation may change to that of us supplying others with low cost labours, such as maids, and construction workers..

Our politicians may not be immue to these, as wealth that are gathered easily can disappear easily, seldom more than 3 generations. So do not be surprised to see their future generations work as maids in Indonesia… That day could well arrive in this century… 🙂


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Annoymous
    Apr 29, 2009 @ 18:13:03

    Not a surprise.
    The government imposes giving engineering consultancy jobs to bumi firms so why engineers do not disappear?.
    Now, they give jobs to 100% bumi companies; other race not need to eat. Can you see what logic is that? We grow hungry too, you know.
    There are some good Malays who could not stand this mean attitude and migrate away too!
    When will the government treat everybody alike?
    If it is on even playing field, many will return and if they lose out nobody could blame the govenment.
    But now they have someone to point their fingers to.
    And who should take the blame?


  2. pilocarpine
    Apr 29, 2009 @ 19:13:51

    perhaps this is the ‘gulf war’ mentality

    burn all the oil rig rather than give it to the americans…

    malaysia is for malays. let it go down rather than be dominated by chinese malaysian.

    old mindsets.


  3. pohwatchdog
    Apr 29, 2009 @ 20:29:14

    Malaysia need to buck up. With the present generation so complacent and uninnovative,
    a number of Malaysians have migrate to other
    countries to seek work. Even now a number of Malaysians after the tin mining industry collapse in Kinta Valley went oversea to work. This unsung hero have contributed to our country economy by buying property and remittance to their family in Malaysia.

    It is not surprise that Malaysia worked as waiter, waitress or other blue collar jobs in developing countries. They have play a part in our country economy just like the foreigners that work in Malaysia. Our present generation cannot be choosy about their jobs even mamak restaurant
    workers are foreigners.

    Our education system need to revamp and not too examination-oriented. Alas a lot of redundancy existed and overlapping in the school subjects such as Moral Education, Civic Education, History and coursework for subject Physical Education. Is it necessary for students in Form 1 to Form 3? Is it not time to revamp our education system?


  4. Malaysia Bolih
    Apr 29, 2009 @ 22:26:59

    Don’t be surprise. If UMNO / BN continue to rule Malaysia, we will one day supply maids to Indonesia.


  5. Chauncey Gardener
    Apr 30, 2009 @ 00:31:52

    The only way to combat this is to strengthen the higher education system and not just revamp it as suggested by pohwatchdog.

    Producing high quality university graduates will provide the feeder stock for a services / knowledge based economy because Malaysia cannot compete as an agro or manufacturing based economy. Of course, these sectors are still vital to the country but local labour seems to be pricing themselves out of jobs.

    My question is why are those 11 countries named as N11 ? What is the criteria ?


  6. clearwater
    Apr 30, 2009 @ 11:19:54

    Malaysia supply maids to Indonesia? Unlikely yet. But the idea behind the thought is not too way off. Malaysia supply semi-skilled and unskilled workers to developed countries ? That’s a fact. Malaysians with low level skills go overseas to work for better pay, with or without work permits. Many go to developed countries where there are large Chinese communities, suffer a few years of hardship, endure extreme thrift, then come back with some decent savings. Not too different from traditional migrant labor anywhere else in the world.

    On the other hand, Malaysians with worldwide marketable skills are, by and large, a product of good tertiary institutions overseas. Most were privately supported through their parents financial sacrifices. Do these Malaysians want this cycle of sacrifice repeated in future generations because of a discriminatory society? That will be stupidity in the extreme. Many will become participants in the brain drain and migrate overseas. The thought of a certain politician’s future great great granddaughter working as a maid to my future great grandson in Hong Kong does sound a bit like poetic justice.


  7. Dr Hsu
    Apr 30, 2009 @ 11:22:49

    chauncey Gardener,
    I do not know how what criteria they used. Apparently it started when an investment bank of uS grouped these countries into the next 11 to watch, and after that, others started using the terms. I suspect the criteria are quite subjective.

    Anyway the message is that if we do not buck up we will be marginalised and be overtaken by others, just like south Korea, Hong Kong, taiwan overtook us before….

    Malaysia is not in the 4 little dragons. We are just a also run country as far as others are concerned.

    But on the other had, foreign investers are not here for charity. They will only go to those coutries that offer value for their money… We used to be a great country for investment, with political stability, predictable policies, cheap and fairly competent labour, English speaking. But these advantages are fast diappearing… If we do ot act out of the box, and still stick to so much red tapes and restrictions like NEP, people will think twice to come here.


  8. kurangbaik
    Apr 30, 2009 @ 20:15:38

    BN govt will say this is a biased assessment from orang pitih. If any Msian listen to this, then this Msian is a traitor in BN eyes.
    But this could be possible if BN continue to rule Msia for next 25 years.


  9. ahoo
    Apr 30, 2009 @ 20:52:53

    Not a surprise at all ! We already have Malaysians working in S’pore as maids for a long time already. If Indonesia really shines, we are in trouble.

    Afterall, we already have lots of graduates laboring in fast-foods chains and service industry like Hotels. With lesser jobs at home, moving across to Indonesia is just another option and moreover very near and dear.


  10. Disgusted
    Apr 30, 2009 @ 23:12:18

    Housemaids with pigtails used to be in Malaya in the 50s and 60s, working for British colonists here and Singapore (British colonies).

    But I doubt Malaysians are used to tough working conditions and unlikely in the future too. They rather work in factories as there is more freedom.

    If they are willing (now and future) Malaysians need not employ so many Indon maids.

    Anyway, there are some things irreversible in life and Malaysian girls don’t like working in other houses. Waking up at 6pm to wash cars, washing clothes and looking after peoples’ babies.



  11. oldbean
    May 01, 2009 @ 00:38:02

    Housemaids with pigtails ??

    monk… who are them?


  12. Chauncey Gardener
    May 01, 2009 @ 02:59:38

    Wikipedia had this to say about the Next 11 economies :

    GOLDMAN SACHS used macroeconomic, stability, political maturity, openness of trade and investment policies, and the quality of education as criteria. The N-11 paper is a follow-up to the bank’s 2003 paper on the four emerging “BRIC” economies, Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

    DEVELOPED country
    • South Korea: Advanced economy (both CIA and IMF), High-income economy, High human development, Highy-income OECD member, Developed market, Full democracy, G-20 major economies, Four Asian Tigers, KORUS FTA, Visa Waiver Program participant, APEC founding member, ASEAN Plus Three founding member, EAS founding member

    • Mexico: Upper-middle-income economy, High human development, OECD member, Advanced Emerging market, Flawed democracy, G-20 major economies, G8+5 member, NAFTA, APEC member
    • Philippines: Lower-middle-income economy, Medium human development, Secondary Emerging market, Flawed democracy, G20 developing nations, APEC founding member, ASEAN founding member, EAS founding member
    • Turkey: Upper-middle-income economy, Medium human development, OECD founding member, Secondary Emerging market, Hybrid regime, G-20 major economies, EU Customs Union, ECO member

    DEVELOPING country
    • Egypt: Lower-middle-income economy, Medium human development, Secondary Emerging market, Authoritarian regime, G20 developing nations, CAEU founding member, COMESA member, ENP member
    • Indonesia: Lower-middle-income economy, Medium human development, Secondary Emerging market, Flawed democracy, G-20 major economies, APEC founding member, ASEAN founding member, EAS founding member
    • Iran: Lower-middle-income economy, Medium human development, Authoritarian regime, OPEC founding member, ECO member, Group of 15 member, Developing 8 Countries
    • Nigeria: Low-income economy, Low human development, Frontier market, Authoritarian regime, G20 developing nations, OPEC member
    • Pakistan: Low-income economy, Medium human development, Secondary Emerging market, Hybrid regime, G20 developing nations, SAARC founding member, ECO member, Developing 8 Countries
    • Vietnam: Low-income economy, Medium human development, Frontier market, Authoritarian regime, APEC member, ASEAN member, EAS founding member

    • Bangladesh: Low-income economy, Medium human development, Frontier market, Hybrid regime, SAARC founding member, Developing 8 Countries


  13. serendipity hopeful
    May 01, 2009 @ 13:42:09

    Fair warning but I doubt those in the government are going to play any attention to this. Birth, Old Age, Sickness and finally Death …. the cycle goes on.


  14. Disgusted
    May 01, 2009 @ 22:26:41


    Single women who first came to Malaya to work as housemaids for the rich and British colonial families. They dressed in white and black (satin trousers). They have pigtails as a vow not to get married (Cantonese called it, “soh eh” (comb up-in pigtails).

    Only those born in the 50s know this. They are called, “mah cheah” (in Cantonese).



  15. tonyboneka
    May 09, 2009 @ 19:36:28

    Malaysia may not supply maids to Indonesia so soon, but may supply cheap labours to China sooner than we thought, when their demographic windows closing soon.


  16. tonyboneka
    May 09, 2009 @ 22:16:36

    Interesting words from ‘political scientist Ian Bremmer defines an emerging market as “a country where politics matters at least as much as economics to the markets.’


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: