Issues Blog Issues Blog

Migrate vs stay in Malaysia

Posted by: Brigitte Rozario Post(s) by this blogger

Most of us have friends or family who have migrated to other countries. The children's education and better prospects / opportunities are often the reasons for the move.

Is it an option? Should you consider migration for your family?

We speak to two parents - one who made the big move and one who remains in Malaysia.

David (no last name given) and his family migrated to Australia over the past few years. He is a father of two aged six and eight. He says:

The children were three and five years old then. We decided to migrate partly for the kids and partly for ourselves. We wanted the children to have a wholesome education.

It was a difficult decision to make because both my wife and I were doing well in Malaysia, career-wise and financially.

We worked out that over the long term, it would be better for the kids as they would have a well-rounded education, not only academically but also socially. Their strengths and weaknesses would be addressed by teachers in a classroom of 20 students rather than 40 in Kuala Lumpur.

Here, where we live in Australia now, there is also nice fresh air and a comfortable and safe environment with minimal traffic jams. You can actually get to your appointments on time.

Nobody looks down on you for being a blue-collared worker. Even if our kids cannot study or go to university, they can work as tradesmen like plumbers and electricians and earn as much as lawyers and bankers. By migrating here we wanted to give our children more options than are available in Malaysia.

On the negative side, our children will also be exposed to negative western culture such as drinking, smoking, drugs, etc. But we have to manage that with more family time and maintaining strong good Asian and Christian values.

If we had stayed in Malaysia, we would have been financially better off and had maids to take care of our kids and home. But we would've been worried about security, what with snatch thieves and break-ins being so rampant.

In addition, I don't believe my children would have been able to do well in their career or advance as far as I had because of the racial politics in Malaysia.

The move has been good so far. I suppose the only things we miss are family and food. The children love it here, especially school. My son can't wait for the school holidays to end and my daughter can't wait to start school.

I believe we have made the right decision to migrate to Australia. It has made my family closer; we spend more time together now.

We make new friends and we have more time with each other. During summer, the sun sets at about 9pm. After dinner, you can still go cycling or walk around your neighbourhood or the parks.

On weekends, we sometimes take day trips to the beach or some small towns. We spend more time outdoors in the fresh air unlike in KL where we would spend time in the shopping centres.

I would encourage others to migrate here but it would also depend on the individual and their intentions. I would highlight the pros and cons and ultimately, they have to decide what are the push and pull factors and weigh them accordingly.

I have known people who moved back after being here for 1-2 years. Some could not cope with the lower career pathway and miss the comfort of easy cheap food back home. Others go back to make more money then return later.

I think if you want to migrate, then do so when the children are about nine or 10 years old because then, the kids would have had a few years of Malaysian culture and education, especially if you want them to learn Mandarin. Don't go when they're older because then they will have a problem assimilating the local culture.

Elaine, mother of two aged one and four years old:

My husband and I have thought of migrating for the sake of the kids' education. The education system in this country is messed up. We have to pay through our noses for a private/international education because we have no faith in the public school system.

I have a brother who stayed in New Zealand after university and he too has considered migrating. I also stayed on a couple of years in New Zealand after university. I was there for a total of six years. I thought I would give it a shot, living there, but I did not like it. The way of thinking and the lifestyle did not suit me.

I wouldn't recommend New Zealand and Australia for migration. The people there are very close-minded and racist. Their country is their world, so they're not tolerant/accepting of other races/ people from outside of their country.

Singapore would be at the top of my list if I did have to migrate. It would be the ideal country for me as I would be able to retain both my identity and enjoy the trappings of a truly developed and well-thought-through country.

What would make me migrate?

First of all, I would leave for my kids' future. I would also leave if this country becomes too unstable, socially and economically. I would stay as long as I can, because I love it here, but if circumstances prevent that, then I would have to go.

However, I really believe it's better for my children to remain in Malaysia.

This is our country, where our roots are. Unless absolutely necessary, I would never leave. When I am here, I feel like I have a right to be here, that I belong. When I was in NZ, I never felt I belonged. I always felt like a second-class citizen.

I am still very hopeful that there is a future for my children in Malaysia despite all the challenges they will have to face.

  • 1