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Expat News- January 2012

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n recognition of the Malaysian Government’s plans to attract more foreigners to Malaysia and liberalise the rules on visas and work permits, we are introducing this news section to keep resident and prospective expats updated on news affecting them working or living here.

Residents Passes Issued Exceeds 300

TalentCorp, which introduced the Residence Pass in April this year, has announced that over 300 expats have been issued the pass since it was launched. TalentCorp is specifically encouraging more skilled expats to move here, overseas Malaysians to return and improve the development of home-grown skills.

The Residence Pass is only available for expats who are currently working in Malaysia and making over RM144,000 a year. There are certain other criteria that have to be met so only a small number of expats working here would qualify. Once issued the holder can stay in Malaysia for ten years and change jobs without applying for a new visa.

Expats can find out more at www.expats.com.my/rp/

HSBC Survey Best Place For Expats To Live

Every year HSBC conducts an annual survey among thousands of expats around the world to determine the best places to live. The 2011 survey revealed that Thailand is ranked the best among resident expats followed by Singapore. Malaysia came 7th in the world which is still fairly respectable.

For those that want to find out more, you can go to HSBC’s website (www.expatexplorer.hsbc.com).These surveys are always subject to individual interpretation because of the methodology used. All questions receive equal weighting so the overall result may be unfairly balanced.

What is impressive is that the website allows you to select specific criteria and see how that impacts the final global ranking. For example, if you only select the criteria covering accommodation, holidays, healthcare and making friends then Malaysia comes out first.

Survey Ranks Malaysia 10th In The World For Foreign Direct Investment

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A global survey by A T Kearney ranks the world’s top countries for foreign direct investment (FDI). The ranking is based on input from the world’s leading corporations operating in 27 countries. Over half the companies reported that their FDI budgets have returned to the pre-crises levels. Around one fifth said they did not expect their FDI budgets to return to those levels until 2014 or later. This is being interpreted as signs of an economic recovery.

There has been a shift in investment focus towards developing countries, not just for their lower operating costs but also to target their rapidly growing and increasingly affluent consumers.

China, India and Brazil took the top three places. Several Southeast Asian countries saw their ranking increase with Indonesia rising to 9th place from 20th, Singapore going from 24th to 7th and Malaysia rising from 21st place to 10th.

Malaysia has enjoyed a rapid increase in Foreign Direct Investment with FDI rising to US$9 billion in 2010 from US$1.8 billion in 2009. When the final numbers are released for 2011, this is expected to show further growth.

Small Drop In Malaysia’s Corruption Rankings

Transparency International’s (TI) latest annual Corruption Perception Index showed that Malaysia’s ranking had fallen this year which was bad news for those charged with improving the position. Malaysia’s score dropped just 0.1 point, from 4.4 to 4.3 out of 10.0. However it was the wrong direction as the Government had set themselves a target of 4.9. Further analysis gave some indications of why the score had dropped. Grand Corruption – abuse of power by politicians and senior civil servants – appears to be the area where the survey respondents were least satisfied progress is being made.

On the positive side the number of respondents who stated they had paid a bribe in the last 12 months had fallen dramatically from 9% last year to just 1.2% this year. In addition, an encouraging 50% said they were satisfied with the Government’s efforts to address corruption.

These results indicate that progress is being made at addressing corruption at lower levels however there is more work to be done to change the reality or perceptions of corruption at the higher levels of Government.

MM2H Changes To Be Announced Soon?

We have been advised that there will be some changes to the rules governing eligibility for the Malaysia My Second Home programme. As these have not been finalised, we cannot announce anything yet. However, it seems likely the qualifying income for single applicants will be lowered and the requirement to show liquid assets will be eased. While this is not exactly the changes which we (and many MM2Hers) were hoping for it will make the programme a bit more attractive.

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Since the programme was launched 10 years ago, approved applications only number 17,000. Many of the approved applicants have not even moved to Malaysia so they have generated little direct benefit to the country. Although a few of our suggestions to improve the programme have been adopted over the last few years, most of the changes that we believe would have produced the greatest growth in applications have not been approved.

Check www.MM2H.com for the latest information and updates

Source: The Expat January 2012
This article has been edited for ExpatGomalaysia.com
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