Experts: On the right track to bring in high-net-worth investors

PETALING JAYA: The country’s move to roll out the Malaysia Premium Visa Programme (PVIP) is in line with other countries that are already offering “golden visas” to lure more businesses and high investments to the nation while competing globally, say experts.

Sunway University economics professor Dr Yeah Kim Leng said the programme, set to kick off on Oct 1, will attract investors to set up businesses, which will have a greater multiplier effect on income and job creation compared to the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.

“MM2H is set to increase spending, but this new initiative will help strengthen Malaysia’s investments, especially private investments, which have been relatively weak.

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“The annual growth of private investment has been around 2% only over the last four years; as such, we need to reinvigorate this sector by welcoming high-net-worth investors to tap growth opportunities in Malaysia.

“However, the key complementary factors are to ensure we have policy certainty and political stability coupled with an open and liberal investment environment that is attractive to the new class of mobile, high-net-worth global investors,” he said when contacted.

Prof Yeah added if Malaysia is to compete successfully with other emerging markets such as Vietnam and Indonesia, it is vital to have an efficient government delivery system and a supportive regulatory environment that will spur investors’ interest in the digital and green growth opportunities in the country.

He also said it is important to leverage the growing pool of global investors, including Malaysian emigrants, who have established successful businesses overseas.

“It is timely that the government recognise the potential of this group of investors.”

Besides providing a supportive regulatory environment augmented by efficient government service delivery, an effective and consistent implementation of the new programme will invigorate private investments and provide a much-needed boost to the economy, he added.

SME Association of Malaysia president Ding Hong Sing said the programme will present opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to embark on joint-venture businesses.

“SMEs always have a slow pick-up and are often in need of help.

“When there is an opportunity, people want to get on board. I expect there will be those coming in looking for joint ventures with local companies.

“The programme is a smart move, and we don’t have to look far to see what we can gain because Singapore has something similar.

“Right now, our foreign labour force sends out around RM20bil, and this is something we cannot control. What we need is money coming in and this programme is one way to do that,” he said.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang is of the opinion that the programme will strengthen the ringgit.

“When expatriates start coming in, they will spend either on luxury travel or holidays and also help boost the property market.

“Any move to fast-track the economic recovery is seen as positive.

“But there should be a proper mechanism in place to make sure that small businesses are not affected. It should not be the case where the locals with small coffee shops have to compete with big investors,” he said.

Yesterday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin announced the new PVIP to attract global tycoons to Malaysia.

Modelled on the “golden visa” initiatives of other countries such as Singapore, Portugal and Thailand, the “residence by investment” programme is expected to receive at least 1,000 participants in its first year.

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