Malaysians in Singapore don’t want to become Singaporeans

Chinese daily Shin Min Daily News reported on Sunday (5 Jan) that 87% of Malaysians in Singapore do not want to become Singaporeans. They are only interested in earning Singapore dollars, according to a survey.

Shin Min quoted Malaysia’s China Press ( as its source. Apparently, China Press conducted a survey recently through telephone calls and Facebook contacts. They reported that 87% of Malaysians working in Singapore do not have any intention to convert to Singapore citizenship. They are only here for the money.

The survey polled 100 Malaysians in Singapore. 21 of them said that they love their country, Malaysia. Hence, they have no intention of migrating to Singapore. Others cited the high cost of living in Singapore, the accompanying pressure and difficult housing policies. Last August, for example, HDB changed its housing policy so that new permanent residents have to wait three years before they can buy a resale HDB flat.

However, Malaysians would still like to work in Singapore because of the strong Singapore dollar (S$) as against the Malaysian ringgit (RM). Currently, S$1 can exchange for RM2.50 to RM2.60.

With respect to the survey results, MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, Liang Eng Hwa, told Shin Min that since Singapore’s economy is good, it is inevitable that the pressure is greater. He said, “But I believe there are still Malaysians who want to come to Singapore to make a living (但我相信还是有想要来本地发展的马国人)”.

He said that various industries such as renovation and construction require Malaysian workers. But this group of people will return to Malaysia after work everyday because their family is there. This cannot be helped.

Mr Liang is a Managing Director of DBS Bank and Deputy Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development and Environment.

2 Malaysians were interviewed in the Shin Min article. An engineer, Mr Choo, 26, said he graduated from a Singapore university and has been working in Singapore for the past 3 years. He thinks that his Malaysian sense of identity is strong even though he had studied in Singapore. Mr Choo said such a sense of identity cannot be instilled by the peace and economic prosperity of Singapore. He thinks that is why most Malaysians do not want to convert and become Singaporeans. He still owes school fees in S$. Hence it makes sense for him to earn in S$. And with the strong S$, he can make more money in terms of RM.

Ms Lee, who studies at a local polytechnic, said that she hopes to become a PR and work here. She said, “My uncle and aunt have been in Singapore for 7 to 8 years. They came here to earn S$. However, they think that the pressure living here is great. They hope that once they make enough, they will go back to Malaysia.”

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