Tuesday March 15, 2016
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Knight Frank Malaysia managing director Sarkunan Subramaniam says a purported lack of opportunities is seen as a push factor. — Picture by Saw Siow FengKnight Frank Malaysia managing director Sarkunan Subramaniam says a purported lack of opportunities is seen as a push factor. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — Over one in four ultra-rich Malaysians are seeking permanent residence abroad, making Malaysia’s emigration rate among the rarefied set second only to China worldwide, an international property consultancy firm said today.

According to Knight Frank, the trend, largely credited to a purported lack of opportunities here, could worsen in the coming years if Malaysia continues down the road to conservatism.

“As far as push factors are concerned, sometimes the lack of opportunities that may prevail here, which of course our government is trying best to improve, and these could be some of the push factors in this country.

“Of course if Malaysia continues to become, in terms of liberalism, we’re not as liberal as we used to be, being liberal is curtailed, you might see more Malaysians moving to more liberal countries,” Knight Frank Malaysia’s managing director Sarkunan Subramaniam said at the launch of “The Wealth Report 2016.”

In its report, Knight Frank described the ultra high-net-worth individuals as those with assets amounting to US$30 million (RM124.8 million) or greater.

He added that ample business and education opportunities in cities such as London in the United Kingdom and New York in the United States are also considered “pull factors” that were luring wealthy Malaysia to leave their home country for greener pastures abroad.

“As I said, this trend will continue as Malaysians become more and more international and of course as I said… there are a lot of business opportunities presented as far as business growth and education et cetera there is a major pull factor,” he added.

This comes after Employees Provident Fund (EPF) chief executive Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said in February that 23 per cent more Malaysians withdrew from their principal retirement pension account last year, indicating a rise in the number emigrating.

Over two million Malaysians are estimated to have emigrated since independence in 1957.

* A previous version of this article incorrectly reported that 26 per cent of Malaysians were seeking permanent residence abroad. The report has since been corrected.

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