With almost 680,000 Filipinos in Malaysia, the host country makes it the fifth largest number in Filipino overseas migration. Significant Filipino population can be found in Sabah and Greater Kuala Lumpur. Because of the short distance between the Philippines and Malaysia, and the no visa policy of Malaysia to its fellow Asian neighbors, Filipino emigration over the years was not very difficult.
A bit unfortunate to note that only a small number are migrant workers and permanent residents; most are undocumented staying in Sabah. Majority are from Basilan, Palawan, Tawi Tawi and Zamboanga Peninsula. Migrant workers however, belong to professionals in banking, construction, engineering, medical and tourism. Many Filipino women are employed as domestic helpers.
Since year 2002, the Malaysian government has been implementing crackdowns on illegals in Malaysia, not just for Filipinos. Every year, about 2,500 undocumented persons are being deported to their home country by Malaysian authorities.
In the arts, there are a few with Filipino heritage like Arshad Zamir, actor and a contestant on Master Chef Malaysia, Bella Dally, Wawa Zainal, Maria Farida – actresses, Melinda Roos, writer, Hans Isaac, Iqbal Mazlan, actors and Julfekar, composer.
(Thanks to Joseph D. for sharing his photo)