The rise in living costs and the slow rise in wages in the country has caused plenty of Malaysians to seek work elsewhere in order to make ends meet.
This has also caused a rise in the phenomenon known as brain drain as Malaysian seeks work abroad in hopes of a better life.
Recently, in an interview with The New Straits Times, a Malaysian couple shared their experiences working as fruit pickers in Australia.
In the report, it was stated that it has been six years since Wan Siti Hajar Wan Yaacob and her husband migrated to Australia, but they have no regrets over the decision.
“We did everything we could to survive in Kuala Lumpur, yet we barely made ends meet. So we decided to seek for better opportunities in a foreign country.”
Hajar, who is a Bachelor of Information Sciences Record Management graduate, was a public relations executive prior to moving to Melbourne. In Australia, she became a fruit picker and worked in a factory.
She said that she was drawn to the discipline and the work-life balance offered in Australia.
“It doesn’t matter if you are just a labourer or professional, they pay you based on hours and it is paid biweekly. Everything is systematically done, even though you are working at a farm. They have their standard operating procedures and the workers are very disciplined,” she said.
“If they start work at 8am, by 7.55am they are all geared up. They will stop work at 5pm no matter what and the rest of the work will be continued the next day. If they work extra, the company will offer them overtime pay,” she added.
After 2 years, she and her husband managed to save up enough money to open a Malaysian restaurant in Melbourne.
“It has been 3 years since we started our business, but it wasn’t easy,” said Hajar.
“We experienced so many difficulties when we first arrived. We knew no one and the weather was either extremely cold or extremely hot to the point where you can faint.”
Hoping for a better Malaysia
Despite their success abroad, Hajar, however, believed that Malaysia was still the “best” place and hoped that one day she would be able to find better opportunities back home.
“Most Malaysians here would love to return if we can get reasonable pay. I hope to go back when the economy recovers and, hopefully, I can set up my own business back home.”
“I also hope there will be more varied job opportunities to encourage those who are working overseas to return to Malaysia,” she added.
Kudos to Hajar and her family for finding success abroad! Do you think that more Malaysians should give a go at relocating to another country? Let us know in the comments.