KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia needs a ratio of at least 60 researchers, scientists and engineers to every 100,000 people to achieve Vision 2020, said Higher Education Department director-general Prof Datuk Dr Ir Radin Umar Radin Sohadi.
He said the current ratio is 17 to 100,000 people as compared to Singapore that has 87 and United Kingdom with 76.
“At only 17, we simply don't have the numbers. The research field in the country is a rather 'vague' field. Other developed countries practice an industrial-based research and development field.
“Students who are studying overseas need to come back and serve the country to reach the critical mass of such experts,” he said.
He was speaking at a preparatory programme for local students who will leave for universities in Britain and Ireland organised by the ministry at the Putra World Trade Centre here, yesterday.
Other panel members were Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Orthopaedic and Traumatology Department director Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Abdul Razak and Maybank chief executive Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar.
“Some of us want to stay (in the foreign country) to further studies or just to prolong the cultural experience there.
“This should be taken in a positive light but eventually, the students must come back,” said Prof Radin.
He added that students who opted to remain a few more years at the foreign country would then come back with more experience.
“This way, it will be 'brain gain' instead of 'brain drain',” he said.
An equally important issue, said Prof Radin, was “burnout” before graduation.
“The students have studied so hard to achieve excellent results. Once they reach university, they are already exhausted,” he said, adding that balance in studies and life was important.