KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will allow investors, fund managers and business visitors from Asean countries, China and India to apply for five-year multiple entry visas (MEV) by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday also announced an Asean programme that would give youths from Malaysia and the region an opportunity to undergo internships in various Asean countries.
The Prime Minister said the two measures were aimed at boosting regional trade and fostering closer cultural integration.
Next year will see Malaysia taking up the chairmanship of Asean as well as the setting up of the Asean Economic Community (AEC).
“For businesses and Governments alike, 2015 is set to be significant as we prepare for a key milestone in Asean’s integration journey,” Najib said in his speech at the Business Leaders Dialogue organised by the Economic Planning Unit and the Securities Commission (SC).
Najib said applications for the five-year MEV could be made at the Immigration Department’s Expatriate Services Division by December this year. “To fully realise the potential of regional integration, we must not only facilitate flows of financial capital but also mobility of human capital,” said Najib.
The regional internship programme, to be known as the MY Asean Internship Programme, will, meanwhile, see leading Malaysian companies hosting Malaysian youths for internships overseas in Asean countries.
Youths from Asean countries will also be hosted for internships in Malaysia.
One of the objectives during Malaysia’s 2015 chairmanship of Asean is to ensure opportunities in the region reach all levels of the community, including the young.
Yet, at the moment, awareness about the opportunities arising from the AEC remain low, even amongst the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, said the Prime Minister.
Najib thanked Malayan Banking Bhd, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Axiata Group Bhd, Digi.com Bhd, Sime Darby Bhd, Nestle (M) Bhd, Sunway Bhd and the SC for supporting the internship programme and urged more Malaysian companies to take part.
Speaking to reporters after the closed-door dialogue session, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar said the dialogue had centred on ways to harness public-private partnership in the area of talent development as well as on the Asean agenda.
“Malaysia will chair the Asean (community) next year and we asked for feedback from the leaders; it was a productive dialogue and we are looking forward to following through,” Abdul Wahid said.
Separately, former Malaysia Airlines managing director and current Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala, who was also present at the dialogue, reiterated that he would not assume the position of head honcho of the ailing carrier.
“I will continue in my present role, and I’m not going there. As far as I am concerned, my job is to head the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu).” His tenure at Pemandu expires in September 2015.
Meanwhile, Najib yesterday also launched the SC’s new book entitled Capital Market Development in Malaysia: Growth, Competitiveness and Resilience.
The book, published to commemorate the SC’s 20th anniversary, focuses on the regulator’s second decade from 2003 to 2013. It explores the reforms and initiatives articulated in the Capital Market Masterplans 1 and 2 and the rationale that underpinned many of its policies and decisions, according to a press release by the SC.