I hope the country can continue to draw on its vast reserves of talent and human energy to take its rightful place, successful and competitive in the community of nations.
Prof. Danny Quah
Danny Quah is currently Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). When asked to describe what he does, he said, “I teach, I do research, I engage in public communication and debate.”
Prof. Danny Quah obtained his PhD from Harvard under Thomas Sargent in 1986 and his A.B. from Princeton University in 1980. During 2006 to 2009, he was Head of Department for Economics at LSE. Quah has written extensively in the fields of economic growth, development economics and weightless economy.
For Prof Danny Quah, Malaysia will always hold an endearing place in his heart. He is known to include Malaysia as examples in his lectures. After spending 20 years abroad, he welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the country. Danny Quah served as a council member on the National Economic Advisory Council, which in 2010 published Malaysia’s New Economic Model.
With so many changes happening in Malaysia, Quah is hopeful on the growth trajectory for Malaysia. “I hope the country can continue to draw on its vast reserves of talent and human energy to take its rightful place, successful and competitive in the community of nations. I believe there are multiple pathways to such success; however, no single model is necessary and sufficient to make an economy work. But, as everywhere else, all Malaysians have to feel they have, starting from a level playing field, both a say and a stake in the country’s continued progress.”
What does he miss most about Malaysia? “Well, definitely the variety of food, the optimism that comes from being somewhere where good things are constantly happening due to small unexpected gentle acts of kindness”.
Malaysia has talent, contributing global talent like Prof. Danny Quah.
It (STAR) has indeed provided me with diverse career choices. I was offered three employment opportunities in different industries not long after completing my stint in the programme!
Scholarship Talent and Retention Programme (STAR)
Adam Azlan had known at a young age that he had a knack for quantitative challenges and problem-solving. This passion eventually led him into pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Actuarial Science at Temple University in the United States. After graduating in May 2011, Adam decided to go into the financial sector and was eventually offered a job in an investment bank.
As one of the first JPA scholars to be involved in the STAR programme, Adam has great reviews for it. “It has indeed provided me with diverse career choices. I was offered three employment opportunities in different industries not long after completing my stint in the programme!” he enthuses.
At the moment, Adam is slowly easing into his life as a young professional. Although he finds it fast-paced and hectic at times, he is truly enjoying his work as it presents him with avenues to demonstrate his skills and contribute to the success of his organisation.
To his JPA peers and juniors, he has these words of wisdom to share. “Firstly: know what you are getting yourself into. Do research on the companies you are interested in as well as the positions you are planning to apply for. Secondly: follow your instincts, not your friends. After all, it’s your career, not theirs. Good luck!”
What really motivated me to return was the thought of being able to contribute to the development of this nation by sharing the expertise, skills and experience I gained during my time abroad.
Toi See Jong
Returning Expert Programme (REP)
After spending 8 years abroad, I am back in my homeland. It has been almost half a year since my appointment as the Chief Executive Officer of Tokio Marine Life Insurance Malaysia Berhad.
When offered the opportunity to come back to Malaysia, it did take me some time to reach a decision. But what really motivated me to return was the thought of being able to contribute to the development of this nation by sharing the expertise, skills and experience I gained during my time abroad.
The Returning Expert Programme (REP) provides returnees that ‘balik kampung’ experience along with several incentives to ensure the transition back home is a smooth one. My experience of applying for the programme was pretty straightforward, all the more so because the officers who processed my application were really helpful every step of the way. What’s more, being able to submit an online application made the whole process even more convenient. It’s great to be back and be able to enjoy our multiracial culture, not to mention the wide variety of food!
Getting my children into good schools is important and there are quite a number of good international schools in Malaysia. I am glad there weren’t any issues with the school enrolment process, and it is certainly a relief for parents who are concerned with providing their children with a good education.
I am adjusting well and am happy to be able to enjoy my roti canai even as I am slowly getting used once again to the traffic conditions here. Nevertheless, Malaysia has always been my home, and nothing beats being able to spend more time with my parents and siblings.
I believe in using skills and knowledge I honed overseas to play my part in fulfilling Vision 2020. Malaysia definitely has a lot to offer to skilled Malaysians overseas who are looking to return.
Mohd Zaki Awang
Returning Expert Programme (REP)
Mohd Zaki Awang is a Senior Production Technologist at Talisman Malaysia Limited, a Canadian company which has a Production Sharing Agreement with Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS). His career is one that has been marked by constant travel: he was posted in Vietnam for 3 years, before being posted to Saudi Arabia for 5 years starting from 2006.
Although Mohd Zaki regards the years abroad as a wonderful experience, he made the decision to return home out of the desire to make a contribution to the development of Malaysia. “I have always been a Malaysian at heart. I still think Malaysia is the best place to work and live compared to a lot of other countries. I believe in using skills and knowledge I honed overseas to play my part in fulfilling Vision 2020. Malaysia definitely has a lot to offer to skilled Malaysians overseas who are looking to return. To bring them back however, we need to improve the facilitation process and reduce bureaucracy,” he says.
For Malaysians abroad who are contemplating a return home, Mohd Zaki has this piece of advice to share: “You need to prepare yourself mentally before returning home. The best way is to adapt and change your mentality, and to not look down on your own country. We can perform better in our culture based on what we’ve learnt from our experiences overseas. Keep your focus on being excellent anywhere you work or stay.”
One of the major benefits [of STAR] is that I get to choose the company and line I am interested in. Better still, I am able to serve my bond and serve my country concurrently.
Scholarship Talent and Retention programme (STAR)
Born and raised in Kuching, Malaysia, Marianne Chuo is one of the first Public Service Department (JPA) scholars to be involved with the Scholarship Talent and Retention (STAR) programme. This bright lass did her A-Levels in Singapore before flying off to the United Kingdom to continue her undergraduate studies on a loan from JPA. In 2011, she graduated from the prestigious Oxford University with a degree in Economics and Management. With the help of STAR, Marianne is currently an analyst in Accenture’s consulting arm. “One of the major benefits [of STAR] is that I get to choose the company and line I am interested in. Better still, I am able to serve my bond and serve my country concurrently.”
Marianne believes the best part of being a young professional in Malaysia is the abundance of sunshine and “the dynamic group of people I work with every day!” Her advice to JPA peers and juniors on joining the working world is this: “Be yourself. Create. Inspire and be inspired. Grow. Laugh. Learn. Love… and then the real world begins.”
Only the best – AON Hewitt Best Employers, Malaysia 2013 study