The Malaysian government continues to be steadfast in its bewildering decision to forbid resident expats and Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) visa holders to re-enter the country, a story that has now been picked up and reported by the New Straits Times. Another feature dropped today in Free Malaysia Today. Both articles are well worth a read.
It’s a frustrating time for many people, but imagine being told you cannot go home at all. That’s exactly what’s happening for a small number of expats who are living and working in Malaysia.
Though these expatriates have made Malaysia their home – and in numerous cases, it’s their only home – if they had the misfortune of being abroad when the Movement Control Order was somewhat hastily enacted on March 18, they have not been allowed to return to Malaysia since that time, despite their willingness to self-isolate and/or be tested for Covid-19. Needless to say, this has caused many problems, ranging from family separation and childcare concerns to having to effectively maintain two households over a lengthy and costly period of time. Stranded MM2Hers have not only chosen to make Malaysia their home, they often have substantial funds tied up in fixed deposits with Malaysian banks as part of the requirement for the visa. Working expats, of course, bring their talents to Malaysia and they live here, pay taxes here, and in nearly all cases, very much respect and appreciate the country in which they are posted, as well as its laws. They are simply asking to be treated as the legal residents of the country that they are, rather than casual tourists.
The decision to bar re-entry for this small number of people has once again negatively impacted Malaysia’s international reputation, and this unfortunate treatment will almost certainly be a factor when MNCs look at overseas postings in the future. It certainly suggests that the new government holds little value or respect for the resident expat community, to say nothing of the MM2Hers, people who were invited to settle here and make Malaysia their permanent home. Our own article about this confusing approach by the Malaysian government can be found here.
We are pleased to see the local coverage from NST and FMT, and join these expats and MM2Hers in urging the Malaysian government to reconsider their decision.
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