Lure Hongkongers fleeing security law, Putrajaya urged

A traveller seen at the Hong Kong international airport. Economists say the government should promote the MM2H programme among those looking to leave the island. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: An economist has urged Putrajaya to attract to Malaysia people seeking to escape a difficult economy in Hong Kong and a controversial security law being pushed by Beijing.

Yeah Kim Leng of Sunway University told FMT Malaysia could be appealing to wealthy people from Hong Kong since it has good connectivity and infrastructure and is not too far away from the island.

He said the government should promote the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme among them.

“Properties here are relatively inexpensive and living costs are cheaper,” he added.

The 10-year MM2H visa gives expatriates the flexibility to enter and leave the country as many times as they like without restrictions.

Yeah said MM2H, combined with business-friendly policies and incentives to draw foreign investors, would make Malaysia an attractive destination for many wanting to leave Hong Kong.

“What is lacking is concerted promotion and marketing to raise Malaysia’s profile as one of the premier options for migration or a second home.”

He said Putrajaya could allocate resources for the MM2H programme and work with private migration service providers and agencies to facilitate the application and relocation process.

“Promotion agencies like Malaysian Investment Development Authority and their counterparts at the Malaysian embassy can work with trade associations and property developers to tap overseas investment and migration opportunities sought by the Hongkongers.”

Yeah said Malaysia could benefit from migrating Hongkongers through high foreign investments, increased spending and entrepreneurial capacity and job creation.

“This could be a shot in the arm for Malaysia’s economic recovery from Covid-19.

“Additionally, luring high-net worth individuals to Malaysian shores will help reduce the high-end residential and commercial property market glut in the country’s city centres.”

Another economist, Barjoyai Bardai of Universiti Tun Abdul Razak, also said Malaysia should seize the opportunity to draw investments from Hong Kong.

He noted that the island is home to many high-value digital economy services and said having companies in the industry move to Malaysia would benefit the country through knowledge transfers and job creation.

“We are a neutral ground and open to all markets,” he said. “This is a good place for Hongkongers to set up base because of the proximity and connectivity to Hong Kong and China, where their market is.”

He said the government should look into developing a package to attract them that could include the establishment of technology parks and innovation centres.

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