Abduction threats drive more Lankans to Malaysia
With increasing tensions and growing fears of kidnappings by criminal elements to obtain ransoms, more and more Lankan businessmen, mainly from the Tamil community, are said to be taking up the highly attractive ten-year residential visa scheme offered by Malaysia to would-be business migrants.
A spokesman for the Malaysian High Commission in Colombo confirmed that more than hundred Sri Lankans had already made use of the scheme known as ‘Malaysia My Second Home Programme’, but said those who obtained the ten-year visa facility came from all three major communities in Sri Lanka.
He was, however, unable to give a breakdown.
A Sri Lankan businessman who is directly involved in promoting the scheme said the programme was attractive to business people as a person over the age of 50 was entitled to the facility by taking into that country 150,000 ringits (Rs. 4.5million) and the money should be banked there in a fixed deposit for one year. And after one year 60 percent of the money could be withdrawn.
In return the businessman, his wife and any children up to the age of 18 would be granted a ten-year multi-entry residential visa.
He would also be entitled to purchase two houses and a duty-free car.
Malaysia has also set up special immigration and emigration counters at its airports to facilitate their arrival and departure.
In the case of those under the age of 50, the amount required to be brought into Malaysia to be eligible for the scheme is 300,000 ringits (Rs.8.5 million).
There is also the promise that the holders of such visas would be accorded first preference in the event Malaysia decides to grant citizenship to foreigners, he said.
What is holding up many others from making use of this facility, sources said, was that the Central Bank of Sri Lanka would not permit remitting of funds from here for such schemes.