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Date [ 2013-01-06, 11:05 ]

This new year may bring some changes to non-Malaysians working or living here.


(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress) by Ramani = The Malaysian government has offered a lot of goodies to its citizens, ranging from cash handouts to subsidies. How do foreigners fare in this?
 

Knowledge is Power

Not many changes have come into effect for foreigners since 2010. At that time a resident pass was introduced, which accords the holder the long-term right to reside and work in Malaysia. The resident pass was made available to highly skilled expatriates seeking to continue living and working in Malaysia. Unlike an employment pass, the resident pass has the advantage of not being tied to an employer and it can be issued for a longer period. The resident pass also covers the spouse who can work here.
 

But today, Malaysia in an effort to transform itself into a fully developed nation aims to build both world-class companies and world-class talent. The transformation will require the effort of both Malaysians and foreigners. Foreigners seeking to work in Malaysia should now realize our government is giving preference to foreign knowledge workers. It also believes, the presence of foreign knowledge workers can help create more job opportunities for Malaysian knowledge workers.
 

 Intel in Kulim, Kedah is given as an example. Its  various research and development projects have been undertaken in Malaysia due to the presence of certain domain experts. They have created teams of Malaysians around them, which led to the setting up of, a number of high value-added Malaysian jobs. 
 

If you as a foreigner can create new business opportunities and new jobs in Malaysia for Malaysians, you have very good chances of setting up shop here.  If  there is scope later to go regional and/or global, so much the  better.  The government has removed much red tape as it very much now wishes to build an effective partnership with foreign experts in order to nurture and keep world-class Malaysian talent at home, instead of seeking greener pastures abroad.
 


PM Najib has reiterated that Malaysia is open for business. “We welcome highly skilled foreign talent who are able to work with us to drive Malaysia’s economic transformation. For that reason, there will no longer be a requirement to advertise for key expatriate positions. In addition, the Cabinet has approved relaxation of employment pass conditions. Specifically, this involves lifting the 10-year limit and mandatory understudy requirement for executive positions,” he announced.


Best Buys


Foreigners can take a tip from Singaporeans. They  are increasingly buying into Malaysian real estate these days. They see Malaysia as a very good location for property investment due to its  proximity and its comparatively lower cost of purchasing real estate.

It is also cheaper to maintain a property here, which should prove very attractive for those in the buy-to-let or holiday rental market, especially if the owner is in, say Australia. These foreigners need their property to be managed well as they themselves are so far away..

 
Singaporeans opt for luxury properties as they have to pay close to close to RM9.600.00 per square foot. In Malaysia the prices are lower by five to six times.

Demand for Malaysian property is so high that Malaysian real estate companies are holding exhibitions in Singapore and highlighting the latest property projects. The ten major Malaysian property developers have already showcased their projects and these are Encorp Iskandar, Sime Darby Property, UEM Land, Andaman, Plentitufe, Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad, Haven, Pulai Spring, Tunah Sutra and Denia Developments.


The Malaysian government now aims to stimulate further property investment from overseas. So foreigners should take advantage of this policy. Many Singaporeans and Singaporean expatriates, not wishing to  pay for soaring home prices or getting snarled in overcrowded Singapore find living in Johor a more attractive prospect. They do not mind  the inconvenience of crossing the Causeway every day.


The most popular area currently One area proving popular with buyers is  Iskandar Johor, which is three times the size of Singapore. After a slow start up, the project has finally taken off and now has Legoland Malaysia, Marlborough College, Pinewood Studios, hospitals and universities. With RM 32.94 billion already invested, would-be investors can check out the website for Iskandar Malaysia.


Buying Property

Foreigners intending to buy a home in  Malaysia will find it is one of the most  hassle-free nations in the region. Policies have now been introduced  to make it easier for  foreign property investors. This is  especially so with the Malaysia My Second Home scheme, which comes with plenty of in-built  benefits for non-Malaysians.
 
At the same time, legal issues relating to the buying of properties by foreigners in the region are kept very flexible.
 

Foreigners can buy any type of properties. This can range from condominium, bungalow or even land, as long as it is priced above RM500,000. . However, do note that they are strictly prohibited from buying properties built on Malay reserve land, and those allocated to Bumiputeras, Other than this,, the buyer can buy both residential and commercial properties in his own name, or under a company.


A non-Malaysian buyer must also obtain the state government or bodies’ consent before a property can be transferred to his name. ;This  may take  from six weeks to six months . In  the capital. Kuala Lumpur, the transfer usually   takes one to two months.


Apart from that, the entire buying process is the same as that of  a local buyer. Interestingly, if the foreign buyer is not residing in Malaysia and cannot be present for  the Sale and Purchase Agreement, it can be signed  at the Malaysian High Commission of  their country of residence.


In the matter of  financing, local banks and foreign banks in Malaysia  provide loans to foreigners. They will  finance up to 70% or 80% of the property price, which is not the case when  compared to many other countries.


Investment Prospects

The  net inflow of foreign direct investment at last count  amounted to RM13.6 billion. Foreign companies may study where they can act in Malaysia as a support developer, supplier or joint venture partner. They may also work from their home base.
 

Foreign developers must be aware of the implementation of the 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs). In 2013, a sum of RM3 billion is allocated
for the implementation of entry point projects (EPPs). This includes RM1.5 billion for agriculture projects such as oil palm, rubber, high-value herbs and paddy.

An additional RM300 million is provided for replacement of water pipelines and sewage to improve water supply and sewage system.


Of special interest to South Korea  should be the RM500 million allocated for the River of Life project for the beautification of the Klang River. Korea had earlier done a similar project with the Han River in Seoul and that knowledge should prove invaluable for the Klang River Project.
 

Other areas foreign companies can explore for investment possibilities are in the refinery activities on petroleum products, Investment Tax Allowance of 100% for the period of 10 years will be provided to qualified companies. In this regard, various investment totaling USD20 billion in oil and gas projects have been implemented in 2012 and which will dovetail into 2013.. These projects include the PETRONAS Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID), oil and gas storage Terminal in Johor, Regasification Plant in Melaka as well as oil and gas terminal in Sipitang, Sabah.
 

Talking Finance


To promote Malaysia as an international financial hub and to attract Foreign Direct Investment, the government launched the Tun Razak Exchange(TRX) on July 30, 2012. This has a gross development value of RM26 billion. It will provide new investment opportunities by connecting the business community with the global market. TRX is expected to attract 250 international financial services companies and offer 40,000 knowledge and skilled job opportunities.  


To encourage major international financial institutions to make Kuala Lumpur a preferred investment centre, income tax exemption for 10 years for TRX-status companies, stamp duty exemption , industrial building allowance and accelerated capital allowance for TRX Marquee-status companies as well as tax exemption for property developers are being provided.


In Brief

a) “Great opportunities await you. Get into Malaysia’s franchise business ,” advised the  Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Donald Lim. He stated that the franchise business has grown 20 per cent since 2009. 

All franchise business invested by foreign businessmen with equity of more than 50 per cent in the company must apply for the Wholesale Retail Trade(WRT) license. The minimum paid-up capital for all types of WRT licenses is MR1 million.

All foreigners who would like to participate  in the franchise business are required to submit a letter of experience related to the type of franchise they wish to do.

Ministry of Trade and Consumerism’s new ruling is that all WRT licenses previously  approved without expiry date, must be submitted for renewal before the end of two years of its issuance.


Latest :  Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur Waive License is now required for renewal of the WRT License. This license will require the inspection of the applicant’s office or shop.


b) For  renewal of work visa (DP 10), income tax receipts for the last two years must be presented to the Immigration Department.

It is advisable for all DP 10  holders to apply for renewal three (3) months before the expiry of their visa, as inspection of their office may be conducted by the Immigration Department. This is bound to take some time and early renewal will give time for the inspection to be completed  before the expiry of their visa. 


c) Immigration Department has a list of businesses and jobs that foreigners ARE NOT ALLOWED to participate in.



KOREAN PRESS has only given the guidelines here on the latest rulings for foreigners to reside or do business here. For more detailed information you are advised to check with the relevant government agencies and/or their websites.

(Ramani Rathir)

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