PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme has been reactivated and new conditions have been introduced to attract applicants who can contribute to the country’s economy.
The stricter conditions require applicants to have a minimum of RM1mil in a fixed deposit account and produce a letter of good conduct – not just for the principals but also for their dependants.
This applies not only to new applicants but also those seeking to renew their MM2H passes.
New applications – which can be submitted starting October – will be reviewed by the Immigration Department, which has taken over the duties from the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.
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.
“We want to attract the right people to participate in this programme. They should have the financial means to spur the local economy, including in real estate, health services, education and domestic tourism.
“To address concerns over the entry of foreigners into the country via the programme, the government has agreed to set a ceiling.
“Participants will not be allowed to exceed 1% of the number of Malaysian citizens at any one time,” he said when announcing the new conditions.
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 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.
“The implementation of the programme as well as the entry of its participants is still subject to policies and standard operating procedures (SOPs) outlined by the National Security Council, and risk assessment by the Health Ministry,” he added.
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.
Malaysia My Second Home Consultants Association president Anthony Liew said its members will have to relook at how to market the programme with the new conditions set by the government.
“This is beyond our expectation.
“We need to look back at how we promoted Malaysia before and how we can do this with the new conditions,” he said.
Asked if the programme would continue to be popular among foreigners looking for another place of residence, Liew said the number of applications may drop due to the stricter conditions even though Malaysia remains an attractive option.