his loyal highness

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called on doctors and future doctors in the country to contribute towards nation-building by serving the people.

The former prime minister who spoke on ‘brain drain’, said that loyalty to the country was very important “if you want to build this country”. According to Dr Mahathir, everyone who was born in this country was “helped” by the country, to be where they were today, be it a doctor or any other profession.

“So, if you think that you owe the people who helped you, then I don’t think you will leave the country so easy,” he said in a dialogue with International Medical University Malaysia students and staff at the university here today.

Dr Mahathir said that it was alright for a medical student to go overseas to study but upon completion, they should return and serve the country and the people. “I don’t think it (not returning to serve the nation) is compatible with a character a doctor should have,” he added.

While it could not be denied that a doctor could earn more if he chose to go to a country which offered better pay, Dr Mahathir pointed out that the cost of living there, could be higher.

tun, it’s not completely about the money. of course some of it has to do with the money – after all, doctors need to put food on the table, just like everyone else. however, it also has to do with whether we’ll have time to have any of that food that’s on the table, or eat any of it in the presence of the people we share our lives with. we need to know that we’ll be able to do all of that and repay the many loans we take out to support our education.

it’s got to do with whether the specialists who come back have the necessary equipment to put into practice the specific set of skills they have acquired overseas. you’ve got to give them reasons to leave a country they have grown used to, after 5-15 years of living/studying/working there, that can provide them with good technology, good infrastructure, competent support staff and fair opportunities for promotions.

then there are the other things unrelated to the job. the safety of our families. good education for our children. a sense of being looked after.

let those who aren’t loyal leave these shores. just make sure that those who are have a reason to stay/return. loyalty isn’t enough these days, tun, no matter how much you reminisce about a time when it was. surely you know that!


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