BusinessOpinion

Is Malaysian Permanent Residency Status, an Investment Risk or False Advertising?

The Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir, has indicated that he will strive to simplify the process of acquiring a PR for skilled individuals and small businesses that contribute to the Malaysian economy.

There are multiple schemes to attract foreign skilled migrants who are looking for a country they can call home, where their kids could benefit and be a part of a decent community.

However, there are stark differences between Malaysian Residency status vs Residency statuses of other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Turkey and Canada.

These countries provide equal rights of access to healthcare, banking, housing, schools, legal protection, insurance coverage and other numerous social benefits, which is in contrast to Malaysia.

It could be that the new Malaysian Prime Minister has not been told of the details regarding this issue by his closest advisers or the immigration department.

Nevertheless, what’s guaranteed is that the Malaysian PR (Permanent Residency), locally known as the red I.C., is nothing more than a long-term visa; excluding any social benefits for you or your children in the long run.

Knowing this, should the Malaysian government promote their Residency schemes without mentioning what a resident is entitled to? Especially when internationally, it has a standard that is recognized to come with equal rights to all social benefits mentioned earlier.

How can it be called a PR when skilled migrants who come thinking that they are getting the same residency rights as to let’s say Turkey or New Zealand, migrate to only discover that it’s just a long term visa without any social benefits?

With a Malaysian PR, individuals do not have access to buying properties at the same price as a local. They would fall under the foreign buyer category, making them spend sometimes double the actual selling price. Hence, they have no choice but to view high-end homes which are too expensive.

With a PR status, if a skilled migrant wants to buy a car or take any loan under their personal account, they would be treated to restrictions and regulations meant for foreigners. In other countries, the PR status means equal rights of access just as local citizens.

Another complaint that we have seen online by PR holders is that the Malaysian courts and police have high favoritism towards locals over foreigners when evaluating any legal issues.

At the moment, Malaysia does not have any independent human rights body or legal entity that protects the rights of foreigners or even residency holders within the country.

The local human rights body is more concentrated on solving only local citizen issues while ignoring the rights of foreign migrant abused by government institutions or local companies. When a video was taken of a foreign worker getting struck by an immigration officer in Kuala Lumpur’s visa counter, local Human Rights bodies did not rush to seek justice for the foreign victim.

Most of these problems occur because influential politicians and figures do not openly call for change in the mindset of local people. At the same time, many Malaysians that do care about fairness and justice do not know the extent of discrimination within its government institutions towards foreigners. The only foreigners that are respected and treated well are millionaires connected to individuals with titles such as Datuk, Tan Sri, etc. A system of who you know gives you more rights and freedom compared to respecting all humans with dignity and kindness.

These important long term issues are what ‘makes or breaks’ the decision of foreign skilled migrants to come to Malaysia, especially if, for example, they compare between Australia vs Malaysia or Turkey vs Malaysia.

The danger at the moment is when the Malaysian government promotes the idea of easy access to PR for small investors and skilled migrants without giving all the facts.

Many who migrated to Malaysia and brought their foreign hard-earned money and invested in startups have underwent the hassles of discovering all this first hand.

Even though the Malaysian constitution provides many rights to PR holders, it was the previous government that had restricted these rights and no local human rights NGOs have challenged this; especially since the policies contradict the country’s constitution.

This sense of accepting discreet discrimination against foreign skilled migrants and investors should be rectified or its current false advertisement of its residency schemes should state all the facts up front, as how other competing nations do in this field.

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