KUALA LUMPUR: The reactivation of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme is considered timely to spur the local economy, especially the real estate, health services, education and domestic tourism sectors that have been hard-hit by the pandemic.
While the move to reactivate the programme has been lauded by property consultants, questions have also been raised about the new, stricter pre-conditions that have been added.
Zerin Properties chief executive officer Previn Singhe said “it was about time” that the MM2H programme was reactivated.
“It’s really timely. Malaysia is a preferred destination for expatriates around the world. We are friendly, affordable and have great infrastructure,” he told StarBiz.
However, Previn felt that the new conditions that have been added to the programme may just deter potential applicants.
“For instance, one of the conditions is that applicants must have an offshore income of at least RM40,000 a month. That’s a four-fold increase from RM10,000 monthly previously.
“A tiny increment, like maybe 10% to 15%, might have sufficed. Maybe having stricter individual verification, instead, would be a valid condition.”
Savills Malaysia Sdn Bhd group managing director Datuk Paul Khong also concurred that the reactivation of the programme is timely.However, he said the nine new conditions introduced may deter a lot of applicants.
“The programme focuses on quality instead of quantity. But we need participants to contribute positively to the economy via their activities such as renting and purchasing properties, spending on education, tourism, healthcare and their household expenditures.
“Some of the new conditions, such as the need to have a high off-shore income and a fixed deposit with a minimum of RM1mil, in light of the challenging environment currently, will automatically limit the number of eligible applicants,” he said.
The MM2H programme has been reactivated with new conditions by the government to attract applicants who can contribute to the country’s economy, such as high-income earners. New applications can be submitted starting October and will be reviewed by the Immigration Department, which has taken over the duties from the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.
Earlier this week, Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz said the decision to reactivate the programme was made by the Cabinet during its meetings on July 14 and 30 as part of its strategy to boost the economy.
He said potential applicants should have the financial means to spur the local economy, including in real estate, health services, education and domestic tourism.
There are currently 57,478 holders of the MM2H passes, including dependants.
Currently, more than 1,000 applications are pending from participants from countries such as China, Japan, the United Kingdom, Bangladesh, South Korea, Singapore, the United States, Australia, Taiwan and Indonesia. Applications for MM2H were frozen when Malaysia closed its borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
This was to allow the Home Ministry, along with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry, to carry out a comprehensive review of the programme.
Wan Ahmad Dahlan said a one-year grace period has been offered to MM2H pass holders who wished to renew their passes to give them time to meet the new conditions.He said the implementation of the programme as well as the entry of its participants is still subject to policies and standard operating procedures outlined by the National Security Council, with risk assessment by the Health Ministry.
Between 2002 and 2019, the MM2H programme generated a cumulative income of RM11.89bil through fee and visa charges, purchase of properties and vehicles, fixed deposits, and monthly household expenditures.