In 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.
Crime Rate Falling
The Government has announced that there was an 11% drop in the crime rate in 2011. Crime reduction is an important component of the Government Transformation Programme and it is clear that some of their initiatives are working. Many expats living in KL have commented on the more visible police presence in recent years, with a lot more police cars and motorbikes patrolling the streets. It has been a deliberate policy of the Government to reduce the number of desk-bound police and get them out on the streets, particularly in crime hot spots, and therefore it is unsurprising that this move has had the most impact on street crime, which fell by an impressive 39% in 2010 and a further 35% last year.
These drops in the crime rate do not mean Malaysia is safe, but it does mean it continues to be one of the safer countries in the world.
Royal Dutch Shell To Partner With Petronas To Extend Life Of Oil Reserves
No one knows how much oil is left in the world and there are many views on when production will peak and begin the inevitable decline; some people think it may happen in the next couple of years while others believe it could be as many as thirty years away.
One important factor is the cost of extraction, as there are still some areas with substantial reserves which are not economical to extract at current oil prices, but this could change as prices rise. Indonesia, a country with similar reserves to Malaysia, became a net importer of oil in 2005 and while Malaysia was projected to become a net importer in 2014, some recent discoveries may extend that date. Accessing previously uneconomical oil reserves off the coast of Sarawak and
Sabah will now become possible under an agreement recently signed between Royal Dutch Shell and Petroliam Nasional (PETRONAS). The two companies have agreed to jointly invest US$12 billion over the next 30 years to extract more oil from these reserves and probably extend their life beyond 2040.
InvestKL Feeling Confident
InvestKL, which is charged with attracting 100 of the world’s largest corporations to set up regional operations in Malaysia by 2020, is feeling bullish on reaching their targets.
Their CEO Zainal Amanshah reports that so far Malaysia has attracted six major corporations to set up regional operations here. While he admits many of these were the result of efforts by other entities before his operation was fully set up, Amanshah has seen considerable interest among other major companies. He feels that the target of reaching 100 major multinationals to set up regional operations here by 2020 is quite realistic.
This month we carry an interview with this highly motivated and charismatic CEO and explain more about the work of InvestKL in a two-page write up which can be found on page 36 (MARCH 2012 issue of The Expat magazine).
Economic Growth Expected To Slow This Year
Not surprisingly, Malaysia’s economic growth is forecast to slow this year. The fourth quarter of 2011 was showing signs of a slowdown as growth fell from 5.8 per cent in the third quarter to 5.2 per cent in the fourth quarter, resulting in a full year growth of 5.1 per cent.
The outlook for 2012 is for a continued slowdown, but this is expected to be somewhat mitigated by an encouraging growth in domestic demand. As usual, economists have widely different projections: The Business Times showed forecasts from leading financial institutions and research bodies which ranged from a high of 5.5 per cent to a low of 2.7. The average of all the projections came to around 4.1 per cent
Clearly the significant economic problems in both Europe and the United States will have a negative impact on this part of the world, but the continued growth in the Indian and Chinese economies combined with the rapid increase in consumer demand in Asia will help offset this.
‘Approval To Work Visa’ For Expat Spouses
Two years ago the Malaysian Government eased their fairly hard-line policy on spouses working. Many countries in Asia do not like expat spouses joining the work force and Malaysia was no exception but, as part of their move to open up Malaysia to skilled foreign workers, the Government changed the policy for spouses looking for work.
Expat spouses no longer have to go through the rather arduous process of surrendering their dependent visas and applying for a work permit if they find employment in Malaysia, instead they can request an endorsement to their existing visa stating that they are allowed to work.
It seems that most companies are not aware of this new facility and we would love to hear from any expats spouses who have received the endorsement and would be willing to share their experiences in applying for it and the types of jobs for which it was approved.
If you are looking to apply for endorsement we can help; just contact Zana on e-mail at [email protected] or telephone on 03 2094 9664.
Source: The Expat March 2012
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This article has been edited for ExpatGomalaysia.com