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An Interview with Naeem Shahab Khan

by Nur Ilyanna Mohd Shaharul 1 Nov 2013
An Interview with Naeem Shahab Khan

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The Chief Executive Officer of the Philips Group of Companies in Malaysia shares his thoughts on TalentCorp’s benefits for expatriates and why Malaysia is the perfect country to call home.

My home country is Pakistan, but I have been away from there for quite some time now. I was in Singapore for about seven years before coming here. Before Singapore, I spent a couple of years in Hong Kong and a short while in Dubai. My wife and I arrived in Malaysia in 2009. On 1st November 2013, it will be exactly four years for us here. Honestly, I really can’t tell where the time has gone because I’ve been enjoying it here so much.

I always believe that a person should have options, which is exactly what the Residence Pass–Talent (RP–T) provides. TalentCorp has made the process of settling down in Malaysia very smooth for me and my family. Their services are structurally sound, proactive and quick; I can be assured of a satisfactory response. Our extended families are also able to stay longer when they come to visit us here. At an expatriate level, these are the conveniences we look for.

Besides that, the RP–T provides security in the sense that you don’t have to worry about what will happen if you want to work elsewhere, whether your family can come along, etc. For me, this whole 10-year tenure is especially beneficial in the sense that it provides me with broader horizons for the future instead of being completely bound to your current contract. You can go anywhere and still come back afterwards to contribute to Malaysia’s economy or to live here. This is something I always emphasise to fellow expatriates and returning Malaysians when recommending TalentCorp’s services to them. Also, since I travel so much, having the iPass which comes together with my RP–T ensures that my passport doesn’t have to get stamped every time so I can save pages—that’s another advantage!

There are a lot of similarities between Pakistan and Malaysia, I think. Both are Muslim countries—their cultures are strongly connected to religion, which in itself makes them closer than other countries. From a developmental and infrastructural perspective though, Malaysia is way ahead of Pakistan. Pakistan can learn a lot from how Malaysia has developed as a Muslim country in terms of tolerance and harmony. Additionally, there are some cultural variations—in Pakistan, Raya is celebrated for three days while in Malaysia, Raya is celebrated for 30 days. That’s a big difference! Malaysians also know how to balance life better compared to people in

Malaysians are wonderful. It is the people that give a country life and of course, the food. Normally people say food first, but I will say people first! Malaysians are very courteous and humble—they take you in with open arms, and my wife and I feel absolutely at home here. We’ve never felt that way in any other country we’ve lived in before. On top of that, the weather, lifestyle and infrastructure are all great. If you’re the type of person who wants to look at life from a ‘glass is half full’ perspective, this is the country you should choose.

The diversity of food here is definitely plentiful. Due to the combination of cultures, there is so much variety which is fascinating—I love my onde onde, mee goreng, roti canai and teh tarik. I’m also very particular about halal food, which is easy to find here. The Raya season here is also amazing. We have been to many open houses in the city, but I would love to go to a traditional Raya open house at a kampong one day.

Living here in Malaysia, I have never felt out of place. When we go back to Pakistan for visits, my wife and I will start to miss the Malaysian people, food and weather after a few days. For us, this is very much our home.

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