PETALING JAYA: The movement of thousands of people from China to Malaysia under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme is a big part of a “third wave” of Chinese migration to the country, The South China Morning Post reported.
Historically, the Chinese are known to have come to Malaysia since the 15th century. The next big wave was during the tin mining boom of the 19th century.
According to SCMP, aside from MM2H, there are also a sizeable number of foreign workers in the country, with some of them working here illegally.
In a special report, the Hong Kong-based daily focused on those who had come here under the MM2H. They comprise people of different age groups and who had settled in Malaysia, particularly Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
Some are retired while others are just wanting to bring up their children in a healthier environment, taking into consideration the busier lifestyle and heavy pollution in many major cities in China.
Paul Ying Qian, 32, has been in Malaysia since 2009. and both his children, aged one and three, were even born here, according to SCMP.
“I travel between here and China, spending about four months a year in my home town Wuhan to take care of the family business. My wife Sophy stays in Malaysia with the kids,” he said.
“It’s easy to join in the culture here, and not feel like a total outsider. The different races get on well, and it’s quite near China. The education is good, and the country maintains its traditional face while also experiencing development,” Paul told SCMP, adding that the weather was another reason for his moving to Malaysia.
“Back home the seasons are very dramatic with extremely hot summers and very cold winters. Malaysians are very friendly. I feel this is a good place for my next generation.”
He said that his father had moved to Malaysia before him and stays in the same condominium building as him in the high-end KL suburb of Mont Kiara.
According to SCMP, Paul has also invested in the local hotel industry, and he returns to his home town every few months to oversee his real estate and wholesale business there too.
Malaysia My Second Home
The MM2H programme is open to foreigners who are under 50 years of age and they need to bring in at least RM500,000 in terms of cash and have a monthly income of RM10,000.
For those over 50, all that is required is RM350,000 cash and a monthly income of RM10,000.
Meanwhile, foreigners who have retired in their country of origin, just need to show they are earning a pension or other forms of monthly income amounting to RM10,000 per month.
In 2016 alone, more than 1,000 Chinese signed up for the scheme, that is about 43.9% of all MM2H applicants. The Japanese were a distant second at 9.2%
The interest from the Chinese has increased the most in recent years.
Since the launch of the programme in 2002, the number of successful Chinese applicants stood at 7,967. That is from a total of 31,732 successful applicants from around the world – 25.1% of the share – according to official government statistics.
All the MM2H applicants whom SCMP spoke to have dismissed the issue of racial tension between the ethnic Chinese Malaysians and the majority Malay-Muslim population in the country.
A retiree told SCMP how he enjoyed visiting his daughter who had married a Malaysian, before deciding to sign up for the programme himself.
“I now spend a few months in Shanghai and a few months in Malaysia visiting my daughter. I found Malaysia a nice place for the elderly, so my wife and I bought an apartment in Kuala Lumpur,” said Hu Xiaolong, 65, who moved here from Shanghai.
“Kuala Lumpur is nicely developed and everything is still quite cheap. Much cheaper than Shanghai. I have travelled to over 30 countries and I think Malaysia is a good fit for me.
“The Chinese can live harmoniously with Malays and Indians here. There is no conflict among different ethnic groups,” he was quoted as saying by SCMP, adding that he had urged friends to sell their properties in China and move to Malaysia.
Another MM2H migrant, Zhan Wei, 40, is a housewife who chose Malaysia because she and her husband felt it “was better for living than for working or investment”.
“Some of my friends have businesses in Malaysia so they want to live here, like a friend who runs a tourist company specialising in bringing Chinese newlyweds here for honeymoons,” she said.
“But I don’t think the business environment here is that great and I didn’t see any good investment opportunities. When we decide where to invest, we need to compare it with China. If there is an opportunity, we will invest – but we are still looking,”she told SCMP adding that she just wanted room to breathe.
“We used to live in Beijing. Air quality is so bad that my two kids couldn’t spend much time outdoors. Now my kids can spend a lot of time outdoors. They are happy, so am I.”
She and her family settled for a home in Putrajaya in August last year.