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Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 12th January 2011: 

Brain drain continues: Newest Singapore senior counsel - equivalent to island republic's Queen's Counsel - a Malaysian from Seremban

Yesterday, it was reported that a Malaysian is again the top Singapore student for the third consecutive year – 16-year-old Chia Pei Yun of CHIJ St Nicolas Girls’ School who hails from Damansara Utama, Selangor and who scored 10 A1s in Singapore’s GCE O-level exams.

Today, my attention has been drawn to another Singapore news report last Friday underlining the grave problem of brain drain from Malaysia.

The following is the Channel News Asia report:

Two lawyers appointed Senior Counsel

By Dylan Loh | Posted: 07 January 2011

SINGAPORE: Two lawyers with over 50 years of combined experience have been appointed Senior Counsel. They are Mr Roderick Martin, 63, and Mr Chan Leng Sun, 46.

The announcement was made by Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong at the Opening of the Legal Year on Friday.

The appointment recognises outstanding advocates and is seen by the legal fraternity as the Singapore equivalent of Britain's Queen's Counsel.

A committee comprising Chief Justice Chan, Attorney-General Sundaresh Menon and Justice of Appeal Chao Hick Tin among others, made the selection.

Mr Martin entered the legal service in 1972 and was a former Supreme Court Registrar. He also taught law at the NUS. Mr Chan served as a United Nations Legal Officer and also published works on international law.

Mr Martin said: "This appointment (Senior Counsel) is a reflection of past work and standards which have been maintained. And it also points to the standards which have to be maintained in the years to come. So it's really benchmarking a particular standard for future performance."

Mr Chan said: "The general reputation that goes along with the appointment will be something that might make other clients or other companies, who do not know (about) lawyers in Singapore, first consider that there's this pool of lawyers that they should make enquiries about, (and take it from there.)"

- CNA/ir

Chan studied in St. Paul’s Institution, Seremban and graduated from University of Malaya’s Law Faculty before doing his LL.M. in Cambridge under Kuok Foundation scholarship. He never worked in Malaysia.

This is the latest example of Malaysia’s debilitating long-standing braindrain with far-reaching consequences on Malaysia’s international competitiveness as well as nation-building.

What can the Talent Corporation do to check this brain drain to retain and attract talent to Malaysia, if the Najib government does not have the political will to carry out comprehensive political, economic, educational and nation-building reforms to convince Malaysians and others that Malaysia is “a land of equal opportunity to earn a good living and provide a secure, happy life for each individual and family”?

Apart from setting up the Talent Corporation, what has the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak done in his 18 months as Prime Minister in terms of policy and institutional reforms to check this brain drain?

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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