Yen Yen, Minister of tourism, claimed assemblies (demonstrations) deter people from coming to Malaysia under the Malaysia My Second Home program, but read below Mariam’s rebuttal to her below in her opinion piece, courtesy of Malaysiakini:
Yen Yen's riotous assembly
11:38AM Mar 19, 2012
If the Malaysian elite do not mind investing in the UK capital despite its riots why would Tourism Minister Dr Ng Yen Yen claim that foreigners are not attracted to Malaysia's My Second Home (MM2H) programme because of our street demonstrations?
In a written reply to Teresa Kok (DAP-Seputeh) about the MM2H scheme in Parliament recently, Yen Yen (right) said that riots gave the impression that Malaysia was not a peaceful and stable country and so prevented many foreigners from participating in the MM2H programme.
Yen Yen said: “This is the key barrier preventing foreigners from staying in Malaysia for long periods.” President Assad of Syria could not have said it any better.
It is understood that to qualify for the MM2H programme, foreigners over 50 years old must furnish proof of a minimum monthly income of RM10,000 and a minimum fixed deposit of RM350,000.
Those who are below 50 years, have to earn at least RM10,000 and have a deposit of at least RM500,000 in a local bank.
The participant will be entitled to a 10-year multiple entry social visit pass and the person’s spouse, children aged below 21 and parents are allowed into the country, as dependants.
Perhaps Yen Yen is not aware that these retirees also want a peaceful life and are frightened by the headlines that shout “Muslim model caned for glass of beer”.
The stories of the various artistes who are banned from performing in the country because of their outfits, tattoos or sexual orientation, do nothing to reassure the foreigners of the desirability of being in Malaysia.
Boys sent to boot camps
These foreigners are also fearful of the religious police breaking down doors in hotel rooms. This is precisely what happened to an elderly American couple whose yacht broke down in Langkawi.
Whilst waiting for spare parts to arrive, they had an unexpected visit by the authorities in the early hours of the morning.
There are stories of small boys who are considered too effeminate by the authorities and are therefore sent to special boot camps to “toughen them up”, of tomboys being told their hair style and choice of clothing are too masculine, and Muslims being told that yoga is against the religion.
Foreigners are also wary of the stories of Christians and non-Muslims being persecuted, of crosses and other Christian symbols being banned, of bodies snatched from graves and that Christmas carols are forbidden.
The Malay citizen will be wondering why his foreign MM2H neighbour is avoiding him, not realising that the foreigner avoids him for obvious reasons.
Anyone who has been to some of Langkawi’s tourist destinations will know of the tiered system of charges. Apartheid may have been abolished in South Africa but it thrives in Malaysia.
The lowest charge is for Malaysians with a MyKad and the highest charge is for foreigners. In the east coast, it is one price for the locals, another for Malaysians; whilst foreigners get the highest price for whatever is being sold - goods or services.
Yen Yen may travel in air-conditioned comfort with unmarked police cars clearing a path in heavy traffic for her but for the normal Malaysian and MM2H participant, it is chaos as usual.
If both the MM2H applicant and spouse are foreigners, then the couple is entitled to a duty-free car. They will need it as our public transport system is non-existent.
Nevertheless, they will be shocked by the high prices of cars in Malaysia, the traffic-jams and driving attitude of Malaysians.
Despite the chaos and clogged-up roads of Bangkok, we hear that foreigners do not mind making the city their home.
Malaysians have come to accept the litter, filth, dirty toilets and petty bureaucracy as the norm. The foreigners are disgusted by the squalor of our streets and do not like being ripped-off by taxi drivers.
The foreigner dreads the lack of transparency and is helpless when after investing in property, he finds that a rare earth separation plant, iron-ore pelleting works, incinerator or other heavy industrial facility will emerge nearby.
Malaysia’s success is also a magnet for undesirable types and one can’t help sounding like a racist and a xenophobe when one says that Malaysia has lost a lot of its charm with the influx of refugees.
Outlets manned by foreigners
Malaysia is a favourite holiday destination for Middle Eastern people, who come for cheap sex. They have plenty of money and some have more money than manners.
Many of them are arrogant and push their way around - literally and physically. They are loud and believe that money always talks.
Our coral islands are invaded by people from the Near East. Trying to go for a quiet snorkelling session in the islands of the east coast is a nightmare.
There does not seem to be a restriction on the number of people. This will result in the extinction of the coral and the life it supports.
The stalls in our cities are manned by foreigners, so that there is little chance of interaction between the MM2H foreigners and true Malaysians.
It is like going to London and being surprised that Eastern Europeans, some of whom can barely speak English, have replaced the locals.
Malaysians cannot avoid being blamed for being obnoxious. Anyone who goes to a hotel buffet will go hungry if he is late. Malaysians are greedy and pile their plates high with food, whether or not they are hungry. They also have no concept of queueing.
The worst display of lawlessness was told by a British woman who bought what she thought was a luxury flat. She said that when the second phase was ready, several Africans moved in.
They claimed to be students but drove expensive BMWs, splashed money around and picked up girls for wild parties. They were just wealthy criminals who run their scams from Kuala Lumpur because it has become too hot for them in Lagos.
So, Yen Yen, do you really think that the riots keep the MM2H foreigners away?
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak', this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.