Expat News – July 2011

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.

For the benefit of those expats who are still confused by all of the acronyms, the following is a very high level overview. GTP is short for Government Transformation Programme which aims to make the Government much more effective at delivering services and to become more accountable for outcomes. The plans are the result of massive input from the electorate so their needs can be addressed. It aligns and supports former Prime Minister Mahathir’s “Vision 2020” plan which aims to make Malaysia a fully developed nation by the year 2020.

ETP stands for Economic Transformation Programme which aims to make Malaysia a high income nation by 2020 raising the per capita Gross National Income from around US$6,700 (in 2009) to US$15,000 by 2020. It focuses on accelerating the growth of eleven key industries and transforming Kuala Lumpur into a world class city. It is anticipated that it will generate some 3.3 million new jobs across the country. This includes a lot more expats. Once again the private sector played a significant part in identifying the strategies. PEMANDU (Performance Managements and Delivery Unit) is the Government department which is charged with overseeing the implementation of these two programmes and assessing their progress. Their website,, tracks the progress of the GTP and ETP.

The GTP has six initiatives, called National Key Results Areas (NKRAs) – the various programmes under each of the following categories have both short term and long term goals and already there have been many success stories.

1. reducing crime
2. fighting corruption
3. improving student outcomes
4. raising living standards of low income households
5. improving rural infrastructure
6. improving urban public transport

The ETP is focused on 11 key industries to accelerate their rate of growth. It includes one geographic initiative. These are called

National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs). They cover the following sectors:

1. Oil, Gas and Energy
2. Palm Oil
3. Financial Services
4. Tourism
5. Business Services
6. Electronic & Electrical
7. Wholesale and Retail
8. Education
9. Healthcare
10. Communications, Content and Infrastructure
11. Agriculture
12. Greater KL/Klang Valley


Word is slowly spreading about the new Residence Pass, which has been introduced by Talent Corp. They are the body which is focusing on attracting and developing the talent to handle Malaysia’s planned economic growth.

Talent Corp reviews all applications for the Residence Pass and makes a fairly quick decision on whether to approve. The key benefits of a ten year work visa, job mobility and allowing the spouse to work is clearly very attractive to expats who want to stay longer in Malaysia.


The eligibility for the Residence Pass is currently restricted to expats working in Malaysia who earn over RM144,000 a year and have been living here for three years. It is planned to extend the eligibility criteria in due course. Since most expats take three to five year assignments in Malaysia, the Residence Pass will only appeal to a small number who would like to extend their stay here.

There seems to be a growing number of people who want to do just that. A combination of the attractive lifestyle offered here combined with the difficult employment conditions in many developed countries has made some expats closely examine the prospects in Malaysia. Given the ambitious plans under the Economic Transformation programme (see above), there should be plenty of opportunities for those qualified expats who decide to stay on in Malaysia.

You can find out more information at


Regulations on where expat owners and staff of Labuan offshore companies (LOCs) can live have been clarified and are now being strictly enforced according to feedback we have received from one expat.

They can only live and work in Labuan, KL or Johor. If they want to live in KL or Johor they need to set up a marketing office in one of those cities which is intended to facilitate meeting clients and establish contacts.

The authorities have set out clear guidelines on what constitutes a marketing office. There is a RM5000 annual fee for these offices outside Labuan.

This affects quite a number of expats working for LOCs who had chosen to live in other parts of Malaysia. The Langkawi Gazette reported some 30 expats in Langkawi are affected by the enforcement of this rule.

To find out more, visit


We welcome students who would like to gain some work experience with The Expat Group. No previous experience is required but potential interns should possess strong English language communication skills, have a high level of motivation, and an eagerness to learn and contribute.

Those students who have chosen to work with us tell us they enjoyed the experience and the working conditions. It can also help you learn a little more about Malaysia.


Interested candidates should e-mail their resumes to [email protected].

Source: The Expat July 2011 Issue

Get your free subscription and free delivery of The Expat Magazine.

This article has been edited for

"ExpatGo welcomes and encourages comments, input, and divergent opinions. However, we kindly request that you use suitable language in your comments, and refrain from any sort of personal attack, hate speech, or disparaging rhetoric. Comments not in line with this are subject to removal from the site. "


Click to comment

Most Popular

To Top