KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Residents of protest-hit Hong Kong are welcome to apply for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme but they still need to go through the normal vetting process, says Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry secretary-general Datuk Isham Ishak.
He said the Home Ministry would have the final say on such applications.
“They are more than welcome but they must be genuine; I mean they must not be running away from something.
“Of course we will do background checks.... If there are people who are unruly or unwelcome in this programme, I am sure the Home Ministry will have that information, ” he told reporters after the launching of the World Tourism Conference 2019 by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad here Monday (Aug 26).
The programme, established in 2015, is jointly managed by the two ministries with the Home Ministry having certain processes in place to deal with applications.
Ishak was commenting on a report that the MM2H programme has drawn 251 applications from Hong Kong residents this year, compared with 193 approved last year.
“To date, I won't say there is a sudden influx. I haven’t seen the records yet but we do welcome if there are new participants from Hong Kong interested to come to Malaysia, ” he said.
Ishak said his ministry plans to introduce an automated system to facilitate applications for the MM2H programme, which he described as one of the most advanced of its kind in the world.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi recently said 43,943 people from 131 countries have qualified for the programme and 13,892 are from China.
With 4,882 of its people in the programme, Japan is the second largest participating country. Rounding off the top five are Bangladesh with 4,187 people, the United Kingdom with 2,729, and South Korea with 2,568. – Bernama