Open migration should be a basic human right
By Zan Azlee
ABOUT a month ago, I wrote a piece on how I feel that the world needs to have free and open borders as migration should the fundamental of human right.
In a nutshell, I argued that allowing human migration brings more advantages to the global society, as a whole than disadvantages. And research has shown that this is true.
Human migration actually improves the economic situation of the countries that people leave (money flows in) and also the countries that they arrive in (contributing in spending and taxes).
The potential of human skills and talent for the host country, in essence the brain gain (as opposed to brain drain) is also something that is highly possible.
The recent profile story that is making its rounds on social media (at least on my timelines) is about Thuan Pham, a Vietnamese refugee who left on a refugee boat to the United States of America to escape the war in 1979.
He made good in his new host country and is currently the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the world famous car driver app Uber which is headquartered in San Francisco.
The story tells his journey as a boat person with his family in search for a country that would give them refuge. They arrived on Malaysian shores but were rejected and pushed out to sea.
Pham and his family were rejected from several other countries including Singapore and Indonesia before finally being allowed to resettle in the USA.
Imagine if Malaysia had allowed Pham to settle in Malaysia as refugees, we would have had a genius that could contribute so much to the country (but probably be hated by local taxi drivers!).
I wonder if the Malaysian government regretted the decision to reject Pham and family — just as how they expressed regret over rejecting Fijian golfer Vijay Singh when he applied for Permanent Residency (PR) status back in the 1980s.
There have been many other immigrants who became huge contributors, model citizens and the pride and joy for their host countries after having immigrated.
Madeline Albright, the USA’s former Secretary of State, landed on Uncle Sam’s land with her family as refugees from the the then-communist country of Czechoslovakia in 1948.
Then there was Albert Einstein – who sought refuge in the USA as well after German’s Adolf Hitler and the Nazis came into power in the 1930s.
Even Malaysians have made it big when they immigrated.
Remember Tsai Ming-Liang, the Sarawakian filmmaker is more widely known internationally as a Taiwanese director than Malaysian? In case you don’t, the 58-year-old filmmaker is an internationally-acclaimed director with numerous awards under his belt.
Maha Sinnathamby, the wealthy property developer who grew up in Negeri Sembilan and immigrated to Australia in the 1970s is now worth a whopping US$650 million!
The late Steve Jobs (yes, THE Steve Jobs!), although was not a refugee or immigrant himself, was a son of a Syrian immigrant who moved to the USA. Now, how about that?
So, I’m still going to harp on that open and free human migration is a basic human right.
Governments need to see that it brings more of the greater good to the world.