Expats plead to be allowed to return to Malaysia



KUALA LUMPUR: Expatriates who have made Malaysia their permanent home are pleading for the government to consider allowing long term pass holders —  Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H), visa holders, employment pass, and dependants’ pass — to return to their families.


Having purchased properties and settled in Malaysia, many MM2H visa holders who are stranded in countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa, India, and United States have to fork out money to bear the cost of accommodation, among others.


Meanwhile, their children studying abroad with valid dependents’ pass have nowhere to go, with schools closed and they are not permitted to return to their parents.


Jamie Lee, an expatriate in Malaysia since 2004, who is currently in the UK adhering to the lockdown, claimed that while the exact number of MM2H visa holders overseas was unknown, there were over a hundred people that he knew of.



Lee, who also runs a group with MM2H visa holders, said while they were all upset at the situation, they do understand that Malaysia has to protect its borders but never imagined that legal residents would be forbidden from entering the country. 


“I am very impressed at how Malaysia has controlled the situation, and a lot of other countries could learn from Malaysia's methods or the Movement Control Order (MCO).

“However, we are just trying to get home to our families in a country in which we have been granted the legal right and privilege to live. A lot of MM2H visa holders have made Malaysia their permanent home and have funds tied up in a fixed deposit as part of the terms of their visa requirements,” he told the News Straits Times.


The MCO announcement, he said, came at such short notice while he was on a business trip to Australia, Middle East and the UK and could not make it home on time. 


“I have a three-year-old son at home, and while his mum is there to take care of him, what happens if she gets taken sick? Who will take care of him?


“(Now) there is the expense of paying for accommodation while we are stuck overseas and many simply cannot afford to do this for much longer, especially when we have homes that are rented and/or purchased in Malaysia. Running two households is not cheap.


“Working expatriates, such as myself pay our taxes and like to think we contribute positively to the Malaysian economy.”



Lee has contacted the Malaysian embassy in London but has yet to receive a reply, while others have contacted the Foreign Affairs Ministry which has sympathised with their situatio, but was unable to offer a solution.

He said returning expats would adhere to the mandatory 14-day quarantine even if this is at their own expense, produce a negative Covid-19 test if necessary, and strictly adhere to the terms of the MCO until such time that it is lifted.


“I had a flight booked for April 14 when the 2nd MCO period was due to end, and have now changed this to April 28, but who knows if it will be extended again.



“We are not asking for special treatment… While we consider Malaysia to be our home, we recognise that we are guests in your country and that our presence there is a privilege and not a right. 

“All we ask is that the government consider to allow those who live and work in Malaysia as residents to re-enter the country.”


He pointed out that last year, Malaysia was voted the 9th best destination for expats to live and work in and this restriction on resident foreigners does not send a particularly positive message to those considering a posting in Malaysia or applying for MM2H.

While he knew some expats had breached the MCO and been arrested, he said, these actions do not represent the views or intentions of the wider expat community. 


“As guests in your country, we are committed to respecting Malaysian laws at all times,” he added.


On March 20, the government announced that all foreigners were not allowed to enter Malaysia including holders of the employment pass, expatriate pass, student pass, dependant pass, and MM2H visa holders since the MCO was implemented on March 18.


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