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Expat News- May 2011

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Minimum Property Price Move to Standardisation

As we have explained before, property matters fall under the State. When the Federal Government sets the minimum price at which a foreigner can buy property in Malaysia, it was up to each State if they want to adopt this policy. In January last year, the Government announced that foreigners could only buy properties priced above RM500,000. This was to reduce inflationary pressures on lower priced housing, which were typically purchased by middle and lower income Malaysians.

Initially several States decided not to follow this guideline, preferring to hold the price at RM250,000 which was the previous minimum price. However, slowly the States have fallen in to line and now Selangor which was the last State to permit foreigners to buy property above RM250,000 has raised their minimum to RM500,000. Thanks to the expat reader who brought this to our attention. There is no central source for this information, so we usually have to call every State land office to get the latest policy.

Pahang was the only State to set a higher minimum at RM750,000, but they have also fallen in line and adopted the RM500,000 minimum.

The one remaining exception is Penang, but only for people holding the Malaysia My Second Home visa. They allow MM2H visa holders to buy property above RM250,000 and even lower on occasion. This is just as well because many of the smaller apartments suitable for retired couples are priced below RM500,000 and some MM2Hers with smaller budgets had problems, before this exception was made.

Residence Pass Launched

The Residence Pass announced last year has been launched on schedule, effective April 1st. Allowing the visa holders to live and work in Malaysia for ten years it is linked to the individual and not the employer. This allows the visa holder to change jobs without worrying about getting agreement from their current employer and wondering if their new employer will be able to secure them a work permit.

Initially, the visa is only available to people living here with work permits.

Prime  Minister  Reports  Positive Results For Several National Key Results Areas Initiatives

The Government Transformation Programme (GTP) has two broad elements. The National Key Results Areas (NKRA) which focuses on specific areas of society such as crime, corruption, low income households; and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) which focuses on programmes which can directly lead to faster economic growth.

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The Prime Minister has announced that there have been some significant gains in addressing the NKRA initiatives. The national crime rate has dropped by focusing on high crime areas and moving police from office to street duties. Street crime is down 35%.

They have introduced a Whistleblower Protection Act to encourage more people to report corruption. People convicted of corruption are now named on a Government website. Some 280 people were listed last year.

In terms of raising the living standards of low income households, there have been several successes. These include allowing over 35,000 low income earners to buy homes at greatly subsidised prices, helping low income female entrepreneurs and assisting over 40,000 extremely poor households. Other programmes have addressed shortcomings in the quality of rural life including connecting a clean water supply to 35,000 homes and providing electricity to another 27,000 households.

Permanent  Residency  Update

At the end of last year several expats gave us information about their failed efforts with Permanent Residency. We passed these on to Talent Corporation so they could have some more insight into the difficulties people have getting PR. The overall goal was to look at the manner of processing and the qualifying criteria and see what could be done to liberalize it.

They also advised us that if they thought there were any clear cases where a person should have been given PR but had been denied they would investigate further. There were two cases where they felt this was the case and they have contacted the individuals concerned to offer their assistance. So if you were one of the people who sent me details and have not heard from them, then I am afraid that they did not feel your case was strong enough to support. Having said that you should be aware that there has recently been a liberalisation of the rules and it is possible that you may have a chance with the new set of guidelines.

You can find out more about the current criteria on the new immigration website – www.imi.gov.my/index.php/en/entry-permit

Email us at [email protected] with your questions and comments about these news items.

Source: The Expat May 2011 
This article has been edited for Expatgomalaysia.com

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