PETALING JAYA: The government is prepared to re-examine the new criteria imposed on the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin (pic).
“We will look into them seriously,” he said when contacted.
However, he did not elaborate or indicate when ministry officials would meet to review the conditions.
On Aug 11, the government said the MM2H would be reactivated with nine new conditions after the programme was suspended in August last year in view of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The new conditions require participants to be in the country for at least 90 cumulative days in a year and have an offshore income of at least RM40,000 a month, compared to RM10,000 previously.
They must also have a fixed deposit account of at least RM1mil, with 50% maximum withdrawal allowed for the purpose of buying property or spending on health and children’s education.
Previously, there was no minimum stay requirement for participants who only needed to place RM300,000 in fixed deposits while for those over 50, the amount was RM150,000.
Also new are processing fees of between RM5,000 and RM2,500, which was not imposed previously.
MM2H is scheduled to resume in October with applications to be reviewed by the Immigration Department instead of the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry as was done previously.
These new conditions led to criticism that they were too restrictive and thus counterproductive to any economic recovery plan.
On Monday, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar urged the government to revise the new conditions.
The Johor Ruler said the new requirements would dampen foreigners’ interest while forcing existing MM2H pass holders to leave the country.
Malaysia My Second Home Consultants Association president Anthony Liew expressed relief at the minister’s readiness to conduct a review.
“The MM2H programme impacts several sectors of the economy such as property developers, banks, retailers, tourism and education.
“As such, we hope the ministry will engage not only us but also the other relevant stakeholders so that we can provide our input,” he said when contacted.
Malaysia Tourism Council (MTC) president Uzaidi Udanis said about 150 representatives from affected sectors held a virtual meeting last Friday over the new conditions.
“The willingness by the minister to look into the matter is certainly good news,” he said.
He urged the ministry to consider introducing more “agile regulations”, especially during the pandemic recovery period.
“The government does not need to accept all our proposals, but just to have a look at them and make the necessary adjustment,” Uzaidi added.
Between 2002 and 2019, the MM2H programme generated a cumulative income of RM11.89bil through fees and visa charges, purchase of properties and vehicles, fixed deposits and monthly household expenditures.