Malaysia launches second “DE Rantau Hub” to attract Digital Nomads

Malaysia Economy Corporation (MDEC) and its ecosystem partners were delighted to mark 16 October 2022 as the official launch of “DE Rantau Hub” at the second location in , Kedah, Malaysia.

During the launch event held at Dash Resort, Langkawi, YB Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima TPr Annuar bin Haji Musa, Minister of Communications and Multimedia pointed out in his speech that a few millions of digital nomads, the “high-quality travelers” are roaming around the world.

Instead of digital nomads visiting Malaysia, how do we make “digital nomads not only come to us, but stay with us. These people need to continue their businesses and professional work, so we must present them with reasons to come to Langkawi.” They must feel safe, welcomed, and included with the communities, — “let us enhance the God-given beauty of Langkawi.”

According to MDEC, the growing numbers of digital nomads applying for DE Rantau Nomad Pass after its launch on 1 October 2022 is significant.

DE Rantau Nomad Pass is the exclusive pass for digital nomads who can work remotely from anywhere, which allows them to stay and work in Malaysia for up to twelve months, plus another one-year when renewed.

Not even two months after the pass introduction, MDEC has received over 2,000 applications applying for the pass from digital nomads already.

The creation of DE Rantau in Langkawi has numbers of potential ecosystem partners who contribute to make digital nomads’ work & life experiences the most meaningful and memorable as well as giving back to local companies and industry players.

These partners include HostAStay, Tapawfood, Jetpack, AirAsia, Paynet, Tourplus, Grab, Lokalocal, senangPay, and more.

Mr. Jordan Oon, CEO of HostAStay shared with ScandAsia that:

“A lot of people think that we’ve created DE Rantau because digital nomads don’t come into Malaysia, but it’s not that way. Digital nomads are already in Malaysia, but they are not recognized or being categorized, and there are no incentives for them. So, having this program that actually, immediately has about 2,000 people registered, we believe there will be very, very strong positive feedback.”

HostAStay has been ranked the No.1 Short Stay Platform in Malaysia that mainly assists property investors for making their accommodations ready for nomads’ stay. The platform manages multiple sectors including check-in, check-out, interior design & renovation, and marketing.

Besides good accommodation, choosing to be a part of DE Rantau in Langkawi grants digital nomads with many other local services like food delivery platform and co-working space.

“We see Tapawfood in a much more niche than our competitors, big companies like Grab and Foodpanda as we are currently focusing on vegan food. It was actually a problem in Langkawi because it was hard to find vegan food here and a lot of digital nomads who come to the island are vegan. So, it is a good match with the DE Rantau program,” said Mr. Muhammad Afif Aiman Bin Azman, co-founder of Tapawfood, the food delivery platform with over ten years of experience.

Plus, the area of safety of Langkawi was discussed by Mr. Iskandar Md Sah, CEO of Jetpack, Langkawi’s one and only co-working space with the fast speed of wifi, 800 mbps oncat6 and 250 mbps/200 mbp.

“Most of our clients are 90% females and they are often the ones who lock the door and walk home at 3 o’clock in the morning depending on the day and season as they have 24/7 hour access to the place. For them to do this, it shows that Langkawi is very safe.”

Overall, the DE Rantau in Langkawi has a target of close to RM5 billion to GDP by the year 2025, shared Mr. Mahadhir Aziz, CEO of MDEC.

He said it is the time for Malaysians to be proud of what they are and present the complexity and dynamic within their society for the rest of the world to be aware of.

“DE Rantau” is one of the Malaysia Digital Catalytic Programs (PEMANGKIN) aiming to establish Malaysia as the preferred digital nomad hub to create digital professional mobility and help support tourism across the country.

Both local and foreign digital nomads who specialize in IT and digital fields such as software dev, UI, UX, cloud, blockchain, AI, digital marketing, digital content creator, etc. are encouraged to choose Malaysia as their “live, work, and travel” destination.

“DE Rantau Hub” is a nomad-ready accommodation that has been verified, validated and certified by MDEC based on the LIVE criteria (L: logic, I: internet, V: vibrancy, and E: engagement) to make sure that both foreign and local digital nomads, specifically work in IT and digital fields enjoy and regain their balance in working and living in an interesting, beautiful, safe environment.

The first DE Rantau Hub was launched in Penang, Malaysia on 13 September 2022.

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