Malaysia is now becoming the new land of opportunities for most Hong Kong dwellers who are finding themselves at crossroads over the ongoing battle over the Extradition law.
The ongoing protest is not seeing a resolution in the near future. This sense of unrest is forcing many older and well-established residents to look for other countries to settle into. Migration is becoming the next best thing for them.
Since an abortive push to allow extradition to mainland China sparked unrest in the former British colony three months ago, emigration seminars have been overflowing, organizers and attendees say.
The Malaysian Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry secretary-general Isham Ishak has made it clear that Malaysia will not entertain people who are merely ‘running away from something’ but welcome only genuine applicants that have to pass a stringent vetting process.
Malaysia is allowing Hong Kong residents to move into their land through their ‘My Second Home’ program. Ruling out any chance of illegal immigration, the President of the program Lim Kok Sai has stated that the scheme is to attract wealthy residents to find a home in Malaysia and that their numbers have suddenly shot up in the last few weeks.
Bloomberg has already reported that this week, applications under the category of “good citizenship cards” jumped almost 50 percent in the first two weeks of August compared with the same period last year.
It is, therefore, no surprise that Malaysian realtors are trying to sell their best bets and the ones to buy are older richer Honk Kongers.
Hong Kong dwellers are now looking at moving to other places. Apart from Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, and even Western Canada have reported a spike in immigration requests from many Hongkongers.
The protests in Hong Kong this year began in opposition to a proposed that would allow the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions with which the city lacks an extradition deal, including mainland China.
Currently, the anti-government protests have developed into a wider pro-democracy movement. This has lead to weeks of clashes with police where thousands of rounds of tear gas has been fired leading to a general strike, and transport chaos – including the shutdown of Hong Kong airport.
With residents in Hong Kong preferring to avoid an uncertain future, if they move to Malaysia, they can look at enjoying unrestricted travel into and out of Malaysia as well as tax exemptions. However, eligibility criteria have been kept stringent and require candidates to have liquid assets of between 350,000 and 500,000 Malaysian ringgit (US$83,200 to US$118,800) with a minimum price on buying a property.