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“Enormous feat” to satisfy demands of TalentCorp returnees

It’s no wonder that Najib Razak has pumped hundreds of million ringgit into the TalentCorp Returning Expert Programme (REP). The efforts required to satisfy the demands of these talented experts is apparently “an enormous feat”.

TalentCorp is part of the prime minister’s Transformasi initiative. Najib and Pemandu CEO Idris Jala sit on the TalentCorp board of trustees.

TalentCorp CEO Johan Mahmood Merican told Astro Awani in an exclusive interview yesterday that it is “an enormous feat” to satisfy the demands of the invaluable “assets” which his outfit – Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad parked in the Prime Minister’s Department – has attempted to lure back to Malaysia.

BELOW: TalentCorp advertisement for REP to bring professionals like these back

Talent Corp targetting Chinese

These “assets” – like the couple pictured above – are viewed by TalentCorp as “experts” but they are Malaysians living abroad in places such as Singapore, China, United Kingdom, Australia, United States and Qatar.

So TalentCorp is spending a whole lot of money trying to persuade these Malaysian experts to leave Singapore, China, UK, Australia, US and Qatar where they are now and to return “to give back to our nation” through contributing their special skills.

The expertise so desperately sought by TalentCorp are in the fields of Energy, Oil & Gas, Business Sectors, Financial Services, and Communication, Content & Infrastructure sectors, according to the Astro Awani story.


In the last four years, TalentCorp has brought home some 3,600 Malaysians via the REP. That averages 900 experts a year.

Last year (2014), the PM’s Dept allocated TalentCorp a Special Projects budget of RM58,450,000 (RM58.5 million) – see table above, as well as an operating budget of RM20,000,000 (RM20 million).

That works out to a cost of close to RM87,000 – or more – per pax to headhunt these so-called expert talents who have agreed to come back to work in Malaysia.

This year, TalentCorp was given RM30 million for just its ‘Industry Academia Collaboration’ programme alone.

TalentCorp is an enormous black hole endlessly swallowing money and the public is not told how much exactly.

The three examples cited of the TalentCorp budget are just the tip of the iceberg between 2014 and 2015. How much are they getting for next year? How much had been given to TalentCorp in the previous years? We’d really like to know.

TalentCorp CEO Johan Mahmood Merican

Malaysia suffering from ‘brain-drain intensity’

Johan said the current economic and political climate in our country is making it difficult for TalentCorp to attract or persuade Malaysians residing overseas to return.

“We know that the [job] offer must be attractive enough for them to once again join Malaysia’s workforce,” he told Astro Awani.

TalentCorp officers have been travelling to cities like Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Wellington and Auckland to hold their programmes in hotels like The Marriott, Hilton, Novotel, Sofitel, Stamford Plaza etc to entice the precious but reluctant human capital purportedly brain drained away.

The Marriot in Melbourne
The Hilton in Adelaide
The Novotel in Perth
The Stamford Plaza Hotel in Auckland

Aside from Australia and New Zealand, TalentCorp has also held programmes in Taipei and Kaohsiung, Taiwan as well as in the Middle East – Doha, Manama, Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, etc, etc.

Hotels in the Middle East are real nice – pictures below, where TalentCorp held their events.

The Oberai Hotel in Dubai
Oberai, interior
TalentCorp in the Middle East
Hotel in Bahrain where TalentCorp hosted its Middle East Networking Dinner

TalentCorp has also held its programmes in London at the Holiday Villa Hotel & Suites, Lancaster Hotel, Cumberland Hotel and in Birmingham at Crowne Plaza Hotel, and other cities in the UK such as Newcastle, Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin.

Not only targetting professionals with working experience, TalentCorp held Career Fairs even for students too in Europe. TalentCorp took their “Outreach” events to Paris and other French cities – Nice, Lille and Aix-de-Provence.

Aside from France, TalentCorp has gone to Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Dusseldorf) as well as Belgium (Brussels).

It’s obvious that TalentCorp works very hard trotting the globe in order to try and bring the demanding experts home. It is indeed an “enormous feat” considering how dissatisfied the Malaysians abroad are with the economic and political climate here and now.

Holiday Villa Hotel & Suites London
Holiday Villa Hotel & Suites London
Lancaster Hotel in London
Howard Plaza Hotel in Taipei


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8 thoughts on ““Enormous feat” to satisfy demands of TalentCorp returnees

  1. 3600 talents brought back, at whose expense?

    They should actually know many are still working in Malaysia now.

    How many are not working in Malaysia, but wife and kids are here.

    How many are not working, just living a relaxing life here, buying/selling property,making money on forex,, etc.

    What is the age factor breakdown of these 3600, if its 55% or more over the age of 50 is it worth it.

    With the forex now which talent will want to come back? Whose willing to give up a good pay unless its a apple for a apple.

    If you really look at it Tainted Corp is just a overly priced glorified employment agency nothing more.The government should have just engaged a reputable international head hunting agency for this.

    Even the figure 3600 is questionable now

    1. Who cares? If they work, they pay taxes. If not working, then they are spending their money in Malaysian shops. They are returnees who understand the culture, so what’s the problem. If you don’t want a Malay returning from Qatar but still need that skills can always import a Nigerian, Iranian or Venezuelan – but when they marry your kid or grand kid and head overseas, who loses?

  2. It takes the mind of an expat to understand expat. To be frank, most Talent Corp takers took it not because they were attracted by the Talent Corp offers. They return simply because it is time to return. Talent Corp just come in handy or as an additional perks for their return.

    While personally I think it is good for government to offer some tax exemption incentives to returning expat, it can just be a regular tax exemption like other tax exemptions offered by the government via LHDN. There is no need to hire CEO or people in suit flying all over the world to talk about some tax incentive program.

  3. ….They return simply because it is time to return….

    Retrenchment exercises I heard in some places, are happening even on weekly basis in some companies in Singapore. Foreigners and contract employees are first on their chopping list. Even locals are not spared.

    For those who have secured their jobs, it will be a difficult decision to come home. The exchange rates, perks, allowances, incentives, job experience and work culture there are way too attractive.

    1. I bet with the stock market crisis in China, many China expats will come home. 3 trillion is not easy to swallow.
      It would be China’s best interest to create local jobs, so the non essential expats have to balik Malai-san.

  4. Speaking as someone who returned home from employment abroad a long2 time before Talent Corpse came into the picture, i echo as the others have mentioned; we returned because it was time to return….the financial incentives etc are nothing really…..

  5. I don’t have a problem with expats but i hate the expat that need to be coaxed, cajoled and rewarded to serve his country in the time of need. All these perks and incentive you received from talentcorp will show us patriates how loyal you are to our country. You dont even deserve the “pat” in your expat since you are just a transient economic migrant holding a malaysian passport. More so for those who recieved govt/private scholarship(pa&ma scholarhip excluded) but refuse to return when they graduate. To these people, i hope you never set foot on this soil again as a citizen, but you are most welcomed as a tourist.
    Talentcorp money should be use to bring prominent experts back here regardless of nationality with the view to transfer their knowledge to the locals. Spend it all on education if i had my say. All this glitter gala bs does not work because the concept itself is flawed, not to mention the expensive execution. Stop wasting public funds and leave the expat to pay for their own dinner. I do hope talentcorp get PAC’d later.

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