NEW YORK, June 12 (Bernama) -- As a way to meeting the shortage of skilled
labour in Malaysia, the Malaysian consulate general in New York highlights the
so-called “Returning Expert Programme” to Malaysian professionals and students
who would like to return home and contribute in their particular field of
Malaysian Consul-General Syed Mohammed Bakri Syed Abdul Rahman, in an
interview with Bernama, said that his office tries to provide information to
would-be returnees on the prospect of practising their professions or working in
their field of expertise in Malaysia.
"Of course, the return is purely voluntary on the part of the returnees.
Having said that, I would like to point out that this is also one reason why our
visiting business and public sector leaders like to meet Malaysian students,
professionals and experts, and update the latter on the opportunities available
"Our government’s policy is to attract Malaysian talent back home. My role
is to disseminate information to the Malaysian professionals so that they can
judge and decide for themselves of their own free will if they want to return
home,” Syed Bakri explained.
According to the consul-general, a Kuala Lumpur-based organisation, Talent
Corp, manages the “Returning Expert Programme" which appeals to professionals
such as scientists, engineers, doctors and other experts badly needed in
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The Malaysian consulate-general in New York, which recently handled the
visit of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was accompanied by his
wife, also worked behind the scenes to put together a busy programme for the
guests in New York.
Najib, who visited the New York Academy of Sciences, attended the 2nd
Meeting of the Global Sciences and Innovation Advisory Council which is chaired
Besides providing consular services, the consulate general, meanwhile, has
also assumed functions aimed at promoting trade and investments.
"We coordinate with Matrade (Malaysia External Trade Development
Corporation) and the Mida (Malaysian Industrial Development Authority) offices
here," Syed Bakri said.
Syed Bakri said that his consulate’s priority is to look after the interest
of the Malaysian community in his large consular jurisdiction which covers 15
CONSULATE-PROGRAMME 3 NEW YORK
"We care for our nationals. Looking after the interest of the Malaysian
community here is a major function of this consular representation. Indeed, our
relations with the Malaysian community are cordial and good," emphasised Syed
Speaking on the consulate’s relationship with the Malaysian community in his
jurisdiction, the consul-general pointed out that he took a “keen personal
interest” in the welfare of Malaysians living in the country.
He said that the consulate-general provided all kinds of consular and other
services to Malaysians in the United States, regardless of their status in the
According to estimates, there are more than 10,000 Malaysian nationals -
legal and otherwise - living alone in the New York east coast region.
An accurate estimate is, however, not available because, according to the
consulate general, not all Malaysians register themselves with it.
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This is, particularly, true of Malaysians living illegally in the country
who tend to shy away from registration with the consulate-general.
Syed Bakri maintained that his “reaching-out-to-Malaysians” strategy is
beginning to bear fruit. “We have been organising events to which Malaysians are
invited. For example, during the visit of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, wife of
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in early spring, we had a large
turnout of Malaysians, many of whom were students and professionals, living and
working on the east coast,” he added.
It was “professionally satisfying”, the consul-general maintained, that his
office was issuing passports to Malaysian citizens “in just one day”. “The
entire procedures followed for the issuance of passports have been greatly
Many of the old documentary requirements have been cut down to facilitate
expeditious issue of passports,” Syed Bakri claimed.
One of the basic difficulties in the past was for Malaysian citizens to
produce their old passports.
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However, this was a problem for those who have been living here for many
years and unable to find their old documents.
“We do understand and appreciate the fact that many cannot find their old
papers after living here for decades. We have done away with many of the old
requirements and are accepting alternative documentary evidence, assessing it on
a case-by-case basis.
"The approach is to simplify the paperwork requirements aimed at not causing
any hardship to Malaysians,” Syed Bakri said.
The consulate-general has started to issue machine-readable passports with a
built-in chip that can be virtually swiped at immigration scanning machines for
returning Malaysian nationals, thus facilitating their quick clearance at a
Malaysian airport without having to stand in the long-winding lines of
passengers and get an entry stamp at airport immigration counters.
“That problem has been eliminated with the introduction of machine-readable
passports,” he said.
To feel the pulse of the community and find out the needs of the Malaysian
community, the consul-general regularly schedules meetings with community
leaders and others, often inviting them home for informal talks and knowing
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