Thursday, 31 May 2012

PR for foreigners is boon for Malaysia

Interesting article in The Star by Jagdev Singh Sidhu:

The message of his comment was how scores of people in his predicament who have been in Malaysia for much longer have not been able to secure a lasting foundation of a permanent residence (PR) or citizenship in Malaysia.

My own experience is very similar, despite being in Malaysia for about 15 years, my wife and daughter being Malaysian, me having an university degree, having made investments and being prepared to increase that. I had still not received any answer on my PR application of ten years before (after the initial rejection, which apparently is normal although I don't find it normal).

I applied for a PR in Singapore under their investors program, was immediately approved and received a nice letter from the Minister himself. Proudly I returned home with the letter in my hand, the phone went over and our Malaysian friend told us she had good news for us, my Malaysian PR was finally approved. Too late ...... we had bought already property in Singapore and moved over two years ago.

In the Malaysian context, the one question that seems so obvious: "How is it actually possible that a government agency takes more than 10 years to process a pretty straight forward application?". Surely it should not take more than say six months. Who is monitoring that process, who is responsible?

We have heard the above story many, many times, from friends and relatives. It is very unfortunate for them, and for Malaysia. The number of expats has declined, if I remember correctly it is about half of what it used to be ten years ago. Especially in my field of technology, angel investments and incubators foreigners are so important, not only to invest money but also to mentor small start-up companies.

Singapore realized this gap, and has attracted dozens of foreigners the last two years who have opened about 20 technology incubators under different schemes that offer attractive incentives to them.

For Malaysia, the solution is so simple, just look at what the southern neighbor is doing, and learn from it.

IT was a moment during a question and answer session at Invest Malaysia that became a talking point among the participants. A foreigner stood up and told the Prime Minister that he has been in Malaysia for five years and is happy in the country.

The message of his comment was how scores of people in his predicament who have been in Malaysia for much longer have not been able to secure a lasting foundation of a permanent residence (PR) or citizenship in Malaysia.

His story, like many others, echo of their want to remain in Malaysia and contribute to the country in their own way.

Many of them are professionals. A lot of talent are employed in managerial levels but they, in their own way, have been paying taxes, bought homes and started a family in the country. A number would have started their own business creating jobs for other Malaysians.

Their wish, which is to be granted PR or a long-term residence pass as a minimum, however, have gone unfulfilled for years and is a constant source of uncertainty for them.

Foreign talent should be viewed as a fillip to the nation's economy, much like the extent we go to draw in money into the economy.

Agencies such as MIDA are set up to bring in foreign direct investment into Malaysia, brokerages and investment banks go on roadshows to draw in capital into the stock market.

Rules on allowing foreigners to buy property in the country has been relaxed and it's only natural that the next extension should be the way we go about bringing in foreign talent into the economy on the longer term.

The need to rope in talent into Malaysia has been spelt out in the talent roadmap 2020 issued by TalentCorp and in that publication. The growing economy with aspirations of being a developed nation by 2020 will need talent, both from Malaysia and abroad, to makes that ambition a reality.

Improving the education system is the longer term strategy in getting homegrown quality talent who will emerge from our schools but there is also a need to be flexible now in granting a longer stay in Malaysia for foreign talent, which will also go some way of shoring up the declining number of expatriates that has become a cause of concern.

The report notes that immigration regulation is cumbersome and inflexible in allowing global talent to practise professionally in Malaysia.

Headway, however, is being made. A number of people in prominent positions have been given PR and a those with special talent have been granted residence passes which allow them to work in Malaysia for 10 years.

It's easier for the big fish to get PR but the criteria for allowing other foreigners to plant their roots in Malaysia should be spelled out a lot more clearly.

If a person is a high wage earner and taxpayer - in short a contributor to the economy - then there should be a more transparent and almost automatic mechanism to assess their application favourably for residence pass or permanent residence.

By doing that, then people will not have to lodge a public appeal to the Prime Minister to have their wishes of a PR granted.


  1. I think it is not too late for Malaysia to catch up. It is never too late to put things right again. Unfortunately along the way, somebody else will "screw up" the positive efforts put in by others with good intentions.

  2. Malaysia will never accept the brilliant people because UMNO wish that the supreme status will be challenged! They had already imported more than millions of foreign workers without any education! What UMNO want is maintain their power and suck our blood until the last drop!
    Btw any comment on the recent IHH IPO. According to Bernama MITI only approved the "Bumiputera" with net worth of 3 Million and cash of 250K. Btw I can't understand why they cry for foul! We can always buy it after IPO, it will be traded everyday! Will it boost the demand of IHH IPO? I think so! The IPO will be a high flyer!

  3. IHH IPO: I also find it strange. I remember a similar case in HK, a Russian company going for IPO. Read that the number of shares offered to the public in the FELDA listing is extremely small. I am not in favour of all these things, if a suitable company wants to list, please do so, but for all and a decent number for the public.

  4. Let me represent the natives of malaysia

    Go back we dont want you in our country,you will destroy our society you invaders!

    What good is economy when society collapse,we reject secularism and godless state!

  5. Don't worry my anonymus friend, I am not staying in Malaysia anymore, you don't need to worry about me.