Keeping the best talent in Malaysia… comes with a price

To keep talented employees in the country, Malaysia must be prepared to pay competitive salaries, suggested a Deputy Minister.
By: | September 20, 2023

An attractive salary, or lack thereof, is the main reason why Malaysia is losing talented employees to countries like Singapore, said Liew Chin Tong,Investment, Trade, and Industry Deputy Minister.

The minister claimed that if employers in Malaysia are paying two-thirds of the salaries offered by their counterparts in Singapore, the country would not be facing a brain drain issue, reported New Straits Times.

“We have over a million Malaysians working in Singapore on low salaries,” said Liew during the debate on the mid-term review of the 12th Malaysia Plan that he presented on behalf of his ministry in parliament. “If we can produce products with higher complexity and pay higher wages, then many can work here instead of working in Singapore.”

Malaysia is expecting a rise in jobs in the manufacturing sector to 3.3 million by 2030 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.3%. The increase includes an increase in high-value-added activities, new industries, and the direct impact of increased automation and digitalisation in the manufacturing sector.

“Through the New Industrial Master Plan (NIMP) 2030, the median wage for the manufacturing sector is expected to increase from RM $1,976.00 (USD $421.14) in 2021 to RM4,510.00 (USD $961.21) or a CAGR of 9.6% by 2030.

“This median wage projection is also based on the involvement of the manufacturing sector in high-value-added activities, increased productivity and opportunities for highly skilled jobs,” Liew said.

READ MORE: Elevating human capital development in Malaysia

The minister also took time to respond to questions about the government considering the region of Kelantan as a new economic development location, saying that various initiatives have been implemented to ensure Kelantan was suitable, such as the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project in Kelantan, which us expected to create 253,975 job opportunities by 2047.