Tuesday, December 4, 2001

Boon to foreign retirees


KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign retirees under the “Silver-Hair” programme can, with immediate effect, apply to stay in the country for three years instead of the current one-year ruling, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
However, he said the social visit pass would still need to be renewed yearly, as this was a technical requirement.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the application process would also be speeded up to three days from the current 14.
“This means these retirees would no longer need to renew their passes every year but only after three years. The Malaysian Government hopes that these changes will attract more interested foreign citizens under the programme.
“We are making their entry easier. All these while, (we) allowed a one-year renewable visa. Now it is three years. We hope the programme will continue to grow. It is also a programme to promote tourism,” he told reporters after attending the Immigration Day 2001 yesterday at Institut Tadbiran Awam Negara (Intan).
The Silver Hair programme was first introduced in 1987 and is meant for foreigners over 50 years of age with a monthly income of at least RM10,000 or its equivalent.
Single applicants are required to deposit RM100,000 in a local financial institution while the amount for couples is RM150,000. Abdullah also said that the country had high quality services with five-star hotels and service apartments, which were comparable to those in developed nations.
“I’m convinced they won’t have a problem to stay at these service apartments which can easily provide amenities to those under the programme,” he said, adding that the programme was also expected to help the economy grow.