Strategic investor pass will boost Malaysia’s attractiveness to investors
18 Jul 2023
The special treatment accorded by the Strategic Investor Pass (SIP) for investors to enter Malaysia on a multiple-entry basis is expected to gain a positive re-rating of Malaysia’s attractiveness to foreign investors.
Sunway University professor of economics Prof Yeah Kim Leng said that through this facilitation, the SIP would enhance the investors’ positive perception of the country’s investment climate.
“Such sentiments could shape their future decision to expand or relocate their operations to another country (or Malaysia),” he told Bernama.
On July 14, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced the government would actively issue the SIP, which enables investors to stay in the country for a minimum of five years with a view towards a further five-year extension.
Yeah said the SIP was one of several key facilitation measures mounted by the government to regain the country’s leading position as a destination of choice.
“It is a welcome and forward-looking initiative, given the intensifying competition for foreign direct investment, trade, talent and capital in the region.
“The strategic pass will facilitate access for key expatriates given their need for frequent travel and certainty of stay in the country.
“Typically skilled and high calibre, these expatriates contribute to the transfer of knowledge, technology and up-skilling of the local workforce, especially those trained to take over the key functions,” he said.
Anwar also announced that the government planned to expand the scope of the Digital Nomad Professional Visit Pass to cover manufacturing-related skills.
“Through this pass, eligible professionals such as electrical and electronics (E&E) and integrated circuit (IC) designers can move to Malaysia and freelance for up to two years,” the prime minister said.
Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist and social finance head Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid, commenting on the initiatives, said the idea is to accelerate the up-skilling or how the E&E sector would be able to climb the ladder in the value chain.
“The sector has been around for quite a while since the 1970’s, when Intel made Malaysia their manufacturing hub.
“But after a while, we remain at the low end of the E&E sector, especially in semiconductors, where we continue to be the main player of Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Testing (OSAT),” he said.
Mohd Afzanizam said the sector needed to move up the value chain, and allowing foreign talents to reside in Malaysia via SIP would provide the right catalyst for them to come and stay in the country.
“However, there must be a clear path for the transfer of technology to happen in the most conducive manner.
“The policies need to be coherent, which may require looking at the tax incentives to attract and retain the talent,” he added.