Media Statement: Status of Dr Ting Tiong Choon under the Returning Expert Programme

Shareen Shariza Dato’ Abdul Ghani

Chief Executive Officer of Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp)

 
We refer to the recent news articles on former Sarawak assemblyman, Dr Ting Tiong Choon (DAP – Pujut). Dr Ting was disqualified from his post and claimed that he had “renounced his Australian citizenship after he was recruited by Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp) to return to Malaysia”.

  1. TalentCorp is the national agency that drives Malaysia’s talent strategy towards becoming a dynamic talent hub. TalentCorp works with the private and public sectors on initiatives that are aimed to attracting, nurturing and retaining the right expertise needed to meet the country’s demand for high-skilled talent. One of these initiatives is the Returning Expert Programme (REP). This is a programme that facilitates the return of Malaysian professionals working abroad through several incentives.
  2. In the case of Dr Ting Tiong Choon, TalentCorp’s records show that he is not a returnee under the REP.  Furthermore, he does not qualify for the REP incentives. This is based on the following:
    • Although Dr Ting applied for the REP in May 2014 (and was granted a conditional approval in September 2014), he did not show proof that he had returned home and secured employment in order to be issued his Surat Akuan Tarikh Kembali (SATK). In addition, he also failed to fulfil other conditions as specified by the REP Committee.
    • All REP applications from medical professionals are first tabled for consideration by the Joint Working Committee - Healthcare Talent (JWC-HT). The members of this committee include personnel from the Ministry of Health, the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC), National Specialist Register (NSR) and several co-opted members. The JWC-HT’s role is to review the academic qualifications and work experience of applicants to determine their eligibility under the REP. It then sends its recommendations to the REP Committee.
    • In the case of Dr Ting, his conditional approval required him to provide a letter of employment as a medical officer in rural areas and also his registration with the MMC.
    • Upon approval, all REP applicants have up to two years to return and secure employment in Malaysia before they are issued their SATK by TalentCorp in order to be deemed as REP returnees and to benefit from the incentives under the programme.   
  3. At the point of application, Dr Ting held a valid Malaysian passport which qualified him to apply for the REP. Under the REP, PR holders are allowed to apply for the programme if they can show proof that they are still Malaysian citizens. Additionally, applicants need to meet strict criteria relating to academic qualifications, total work experience, income level and tenure abroad. They must also work in high-skill occupations identified in the Critical Occupations List as well as work and live abroad at the time of application.
  4. To ensure that we meet the REP’s primary objective of facilitating the right quality of talent needed for Malaysia’s economic development, we wish to emphasise that TalentCorp works closely with the Department of Immigration Malaysia and the REP Committee to rigorously verify and assess REP applications. Applications that do not meet the strict criteria, for example, applications from persons who are not Malaysian citizens, will not be approved for the REP.

Issued on 15 May 2017