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Public-private Sector Collaboration Critical to Success of Malaysian Talent Development

KUALA LUMPUR, 17 JANUARY 2012 - Strong and effective collaboration between the public and private sectors has contributed to encouraging progress and will continue to be a critical factor for the continued success of the national talent agenda, according to Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp), in reviewing the performance of its first year of operations at its Moving Forward forum today.

The review revealed encouraging results for the first operational year of TalentCorp, which was established early last year to provide greater impetus to addressing the talent needs of Malaysia, particularly arising from the demand of industries involved in the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). Key achievements for 2011 by TalentCorp included:

  • Partnering with leading Malaysian companies and multinationals to provide upskilling programmes for more than 1,000 top engineering graduates from local universities. These programmes focused on competencies in R&D and high value added technology, in line with the evolving talent needs of industries moving up the value chain;
  • Assuming the secretariat role for the Returning Expert Programme (REP) from January 2011. For the whole of 2011, 680 professionals were approved, which is more than double the number in 2010. REP professionals were of high calibre and included Malaysians returning to take up senior management roles with Malaysian and multinational corporations;
  • Collaborating with the Public Service Department (JPA) to introduce the Talent Acceleration in Public Service (TAPS) and the Scholarship Talent Attraction and Retention (STAR) programmes in August 2011. In 2011, 200 JPA scholars graduating from top overseas universities were placed out under STAR and TAPS in priority areas relating to the GTP and ETP in public and private sector organisations; and
  • Introduction in April 2011 of the Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T), which is a new Immigration instrument targeted to facilitate the retention of top expatriates. For 2011, 482 RP-Ts were approved, including top management across priority ETP sectors.

"TalentCorp's achievements in 2011 would not have been possible without the strong support from stakeholders, particularly leading employers and relevant Government agencies, who supported both the development and implementation of our national talent initiatives," said Johan Mahmood Merican, Chief Executive Officer of TalentCorp.

The Moving Forward forum, which was attended by more than 150 senior representatives and HR practitioners from the corporate sector, provided a platform for leading employers to learn details of TalentCorp's key initiatives and plans for 2012. A key focus for 2012 would be on Malaysian talent in Malaysia, particularly graduates from local universities.

Initiatives for 2012 targeted at this group include career awareness on ETP opportunities and the Structured Internship Programme. In addition, TalentCorp would broaden its engagement with Malaysian students and professionals abroad, and also, enhance the facilitation of top foreign talent. Building on the encouraging progress in its first year, TalentCorp will continue to introduce and drive initiatives in partnership with employers in the key economic sectors of the NKEA and act as a bridge, to collaborate with relevant public agencies.

The forum also featured the launch of two new websites - the TalentCorp corporate website and the talent engagement portal MyWorkLife. The revamped TalentCorp corporate website provides comprehensive information on TalentCorp's initiatives and latest developments, as well as top talents' first-hand accounts about these initiatives.

Meanwhile, the talent engagement portal MyWorkLife is a virtual platform to engage potential talent, promote Malaysia as a 'Work and Play' destination, and highlight the numerous career opportunities in Malaysia. The portal includes an interactive component which enables users to engage with employers as well as each other. MYWorkLife also offers information on living in Malaysia, aimed at facilitating the decision-making process of global talent who are considering relocating to Malaysia.

TalentCorp 2011 performance review

Towards addressing the demand by the National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs), TalentCorp commenced operations in 2011, with a focus to develop a comprehensive set of initiatives built around the Malaysian economy's three sources of talent: namely, Malaysians in Malaysia, Malaysians abroad, and foreign talent.

Nurturing Malaysians in Malaysia

Recognising the critical and sustainable role played by Malaysians to further propel the NKEA sectors, several initiatives were introduced in TalentCorp's first year to strengthen the domestic talent pipeline:

  • In April 2011, TalentCorp launched the Electrical & Electronics (E&E) Working Group (Northern Region) to address the sector's talent requirements, with an emphasis on nurturing local talent. Comprising international and local leading E&E companies as well as representatives from TalentCorp, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA), the Working Group developed the FasTrack programme, as an upskilling and apprenticeship programme to enlarge the pool of Research and Development (R&D) engineers needed for the transformation of Malaysia's E&E sector up the value chain. The first phase of FasTrack, which commenced in June 2011, saw the participation of 100 fresh graduates and five companies, namely Agilent Technologies, Altera Corporation, Intel Corporation, Motorola and Silterra Malaysia.
  • Towards enhancing undergraduate capabilities in knowledge intensive roles in the E&E, Oil & Gas, Telecommunications, and Information Technology sectors, TalentCorp in November 2011 signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the Malaysia Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) and the Selangor Human Resource Development Centre (SHRDC) to develop upskilling and apprenticeship programmes. The programmes are expected to produce over 1000 engineers trained with competencies relating to R&D and high value added technology, benefitting over 50 companies in key economic sectors.
  • In a move to provide graduates with better exposure to careers in corporate Malaysia by providing industry-relevant internships to Malaysian students in local IPTs, TalentCorp issued the Structured Internship Programme Tax Incentive Guidelines in December 2011. Under this collaborative effort with the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), companies offering paid structured internship programmes endorsed by TalentCorp would be eligible for a double deduction tax incentive, as announced in the Budget 2012 speech by YAB Prime Minister.

Engaging Malaysians Abroad

In line with the prioritisation of Malaysian talent as a catalyst for economic growth, irrespective of their geographical location, TalentCorp's heightened its engagement with Malaysians abroad in its first year:

  • In April 2011, Prime Minister YAB Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak announced revisions to the Returning Expert Programme (REP), which was originally introduced in 2001 and transferred to TalentCorp in January 2011. The REP is a programme focused on facilitating the return of experienced professionals. TalentCorp revised the incentive package in April 2011, which included the introduction of the transitional income tax incentive of a flat 15% income tax rate for 5 years.

    For the whole of 2011, 680 applications were approved under the REP compared to 313 in 2010. The Malaysians abroad approved under REP last year were professionals mainly in Oil, Gas & Energy, Financial Services, Information & Communication Technology (ICT), Healthcare, and Business Services. REP professionals were based in countries such as the United Kingdom, Singapore, the United States, Australia, China and the Middle East.
  • To enable scholars sponsored by the Public Service Department (JPA) to build their careers in priority areas of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and the ETP upon their graduation from universities abroad, TalentCorp in collaboration with JPA introduced the Talent Acceleration in Public Service (TAPS) and the Scholarship Talent Attraction and Retention (STAR) programmes in August 2011.

    To date, 43 JPA scholars have found placements under TAPS in various Ministries and Government Agencies including the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), and the Performance Management & Delivery Unit (PEMANDU). Meanwhile, under STAR, 157 JPA scholars from overseas universities have successfully been placed in leading organisations such as Maxis Berhad, RHB, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS), Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Intel and MMC.
  • Recognising that Malaysians can still contribute to the country's growth from overseas, TalentCorp organized the first TalentCorp-Silicon Valley Nexus workshop in October 2011 which connected Malaysian technopreneurs based in the Silicon Valley with local Malaysian technopreneurs. The workshop provided a platform to share experience and expertise that would help advance Malaysia's ICT sector, and was followed-up by a meet-up session in the Silicon Valley which attracted 50 Silicon Valley professionals interested to link up with Malaysian investment opportunities.
  • To promote greater awareness of the professional opportunities in Malaysia, companies involved in endorsed overseas career fairs targeting Malaysian students and Malaysian professionals abroad will be eligible for double deductions on related expenses beginning January 2012, under TalentCorp's Career Fair Incentive initiative.

Facilitating Foreign Talent into Malaysia

As part of the Malaysian Government's efforts to attract and retain world-class talent under the economic transformation agenda, several measures were implemented to facilitate the entry and retention of top foreign talent:

  • The Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) was introduced in April 2011, offering highly skilled foreign professionals a longer tenure of 10 years to reside and work in Malaysia. The pass provides greater flexibility in employment as it is issued personal to holder and is also extended to the expatriates' spouse.
  • As at end December 2011, 482 RP-T applications were approved. The successful applicants comprised technical experts as well as top and middle-management professionals with backgrounds in Business Services, ICT, Oil & Gas, Education, Financial Services, and E&E.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Immigration Department has implemented various liberalisations of the Employment Pass, such as in terms of length of tenure and also facilitating top foreign graduates in areas of critical skill gaps from local institutions of higher learning to work in Malaysia.

To further facilitate expatriates, in October 2011, the Immigration Department introduced the expatriate identification card iPass, which will be rolled out in phases. With this, foreign talents working in Malaysia no longer need to carry their passports as forms of identification in Malaysia, easing their mobility within the country.

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