Malaysia boasts one of south-east Asia’s most vibrant economies, the fruit of decades of industrial growth and political stability.
Its multi-ethnic, multi-religious society encompasses a majority Muslim population in most of its states and an economically-powerful Chinese community. Consisting of two regions separated by some 640 miles of the South China Sea, Malaysia is a federation of 13 states and three federal territories.
It is one of the region’s key tourist destinations, offering excellent beaches and brilliant scenery. Dense rainforests in the eastern states of Sarawak and Sabah, on the island of Borneo, are a refuge for wildlife and tribal traditions.
ndmark Petronas Towers: Malaysia made the transformation from a farm-based economy
Landmark Petronas Towers: Malaysia made the transformation from a farm-based economy
Ethnic Malays comprise some 60% of the population. Chinese constitute around 26%; Indians and indigenous peoples make up the rest. The communities coexist in relative harmony, although there is little racial interaction – and the overturning of a ban on the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims in December 2009 highlighted the religious divide in the country.
Although since 1971 Malays have benefited from positive discrimination in business, education and the civil service, ethnic Chinese continue to hold economic power and are the wealthiest community. The Malays remain the dominant group in politics while the Indians are among the poorest.
The country is among the world’s biggest producers of computer disk drives, palm oil, rubber and timber. It has a state-controlled car maker, Proton, and tourism has considerable room for expansion.
indigenous Penan people of Sarawak have been affected by large-scale logging
Malaysia’s economic prospects have been dented by the global economic downturn, which has hit export markets hard. In March 2009 the government unveiled a $16bn economic stimulus plan as it sought to stave off a deep recession.
Concerns have been raised that the drive towards further industrialisation could pose a serious threat to the environment. The Borneo rainforest is under pressure from palm oil plantations, and environmental campaigners have expressed misgivings over wholesale logging in the state of Sarawak.
Environmental activists have also objected to plans for a rare earths processing plant in the state of Pahang.
The country also faces the challenge of sustaining stability in the face of religious differences and the ethnic wealth gap.
Malaysia’s human rights record has come in for international criticism. Internal security laws allow suspects to be detained without charge or trial.
When applying for a Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) visa the following conditions must be met: Applicants below 50 years of age are required to show proof of liquid assets worth a minimum of RM 500,000 and offshore income of RM 10,000 per month Applicants aged 50 and above must show proof of RM 350,000 in liquid assets and off shore income of RM 10,000 per month New applicants who have purchased properties worth at least RM 1 million may qualify for a lower fixed deposit amount Approval For successful applicants who have received a “conditional approval letter” from Immigration Department of Malaysia the following additional conditions must be met: Below 50 years of age Open a fixed deposit account of RM 300,000 After a period of one year, the participant can withdraw up to RM 150,000 for approved expenses relating to the purchase of a home, education for children in Malaysia and health care Must maintain a minimum balance of RM 150,000 from the second year onwards and throughout the stay in Malaysia under the My Second Home Programme For approved applicants who have purchased and own property worth RM 1 million and above in Malaysia are subject to a basic fixed deposit requirement of RM 150,000 on condition that the property has been fully paid all legal ownership documents have been issued Aged 50 years and above May either: Open a fixed deposit account of RM 150,000; or Show proof of government approved pension funds of RM 10,000 per month After one year, MM2H visa holders who fulfill the fixed deposit requirement can withdraw up to RM 50,000 for approved expenses relating to purchasing a home, educating children in Malaysia, and health care. MM2H visa holders must maintain a minimum balance of RM 100,000 from the second year onwards and throughout his/her stay in Malaysia under this programme Approved participants who have purchased and owned property which were bought at RM 1 million and above in Malaysia are eligible for a fixed deposit requirement of RM 100,000, on condition that the property has been fully paid and all legal ownership documents have been issued. Other Requirements All applicants and their dependents are required to submit a medical report from any private hospital or registered clinic in Malaysia. Health Insurance MM2H visa holders and their dependents must have valid medical insurance coverage that can be used in Malaysia (exemptions may apply for people who face difficulties obtaining health insurance due to their age or medical condition).