Managing the potential of the Indonesian diaspora

Posted on April 10, 2014 ยท


The first Congress of Indonesian Diaspora took place successfully in July last year at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This represents significant progress in line with the rise of Indonesia’s presence in the global economy, as brilliantly captured by Indonesia’s Ambassador to the United States, Dino Patti Djalal.

The next question is no longer how important this diaspora’s potential is, but how to manage that potential into real performance. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the Indonesian diaspora around the world should “synergize” to ignite prosperity at home.

Unleashing the diaspora’s true potential is not only desired by Indonesia. Other countries have also focused on this niche area in the past few years. It would be interesting to benchmark ourselves against how these countries are doing in this area. The purpose of this benchmarking is to reflect where we are and how we can generate ideas to increase our people’s competitiveness.

To provide greater attention to its top talent, the independent TalentCorp was established in 2011 under the Prime Minister’s Department to formulate and facilitate initiatives to address the availability of talent, in line with the country’s economic transformation.

The question is no longer how important the Indonesian diaspora’s potential is, but how to manage this potential into real performance.

Collaborating closely with relevant government agencies and employers in priority economic sectors, TalentCorp develops demand-driven initiatives, with a focus on the talents’ strategic thrusts.

The philosophy for developing this function, with strong support from the government, is to build a bridge between the public and private sectors in Malaysia. It collaborates with employers, as well as engaging with talents at home and abroad, to promote the dynamic and diverse professional opportunities available in Malaysia.

The Returning Expert Program (REP) is one of the programs offered by TalentCorp to support Malaysia’s Transformation Program. REP is designed to facilitate the return of Malaysian professionals from overseas, with the objective of overcoming the shortage of professional and technical expertise in the country. Benefits include:

  1. An optional flat tax rate of 15% from employment income for five years (the normal tax rate is 20%)
  2. Tax exemptions on all personal effects brought into Malaysia
  3. Two locally-assembled cars, tax free
  4. Foreign spouses and children are eligible for permanent residence status within six months, upon the submission of a complete application to the immigration department
  5. Foreign-born children, or children already studying in an international stream overseas, are allowed to enroll in an international school of their choice in Malaysia

Malaysia has recently launched the “brain gain” to connect Malaysian scientist in the country with those working abroad, in an attempt to promote collaborative research. The Malaysian Scientific Diaspora Network will act as a platform for the Malaysian scientific community worldwide to discuss general scientific and research issues with one another. It is believed that the network could enhance knowledge and skill transfer, and in turn strengthen scientific research in the country.