Some leeway for MM2H

PUTRAJAYA: Existing Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) participants may be exempted from some of the programme’s new conditions as slight leeway might be given to those who have truly been making this country their home, says the Home Minister.

Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin (pic) said this, however, would be on a case-by-case basis as the aim was to ensure MM2H participants were “of quality” and could help generate revenue for the economy.

He said active participants of the programme who are of a certain age, had resided here for a number of years, possess a certain level of income and had made significant investments here might enjoy a certain degree of relaxation of the conditions.

Those submitting fresh applications would still have to comply with the new and stricter conditions recently set by the ministry, he stressed.

“I think it is only fair to give some leeway to those who have been staying here for years and have contributed significantly to the economy so that they can continue to stay in Malaysia.

“For new applications, the latest conditions must be met,” he told reporters yesterday on his first day back as Home Minister.

On Aug 11, the government announced the reactivation of the MM2H programme and introduced new conditions to attract applicants who can contribute to the country’s economy.

The stricter conditions, among others, require applicants to have a minimum of RM1mil in a fixed deposit account with a 50% maximum withdrawal allowed for the purpose of buying property or spending on health and children’s education.

They must also produce a letter of good conduct – not just for the principals but also for their dependents.

The nine new conditions would ensure participants contribute to the economy by renting or purchasing property; spending on health services, insurance, education or domestic tourism that can generate income for locals; as well as household expenditures, the government said then.

Applicants must also have an offshore income of at least RM40,000 a month – a fourfold increase from the RM10,000 monthly previously.

“This amount has not been revised for almost 20 years since 2002,” the minister pointed out.

Hamzah said he had also directed the authorities to find out from some 8,000 MM2H participants why they had not been using the facility to live in Malaysia despite being given the pass.

According to Immigration Department records, the number of participants who do not reside in Malaysia is between 7,000 and 8,000.

Hamzah said they would only come to Malaysia for a short period when wanting to register their application and when they want to renew their passes later.

“Whether we will revoke their passes, we will look into it first. We will be calling them to ask about their intention of being a participant when they don’t even stay here,” he added.

On concerns about the number of foreigners entering the country via the programme, Hamzah said the number of participants as at July 31 totalled 57,478, of whom 28,249 are principals while the remaining 28,229 are their dependents.

Close to half the programme participants are from China, followed by Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

Between March last year when the movement control order was enforced until Aug 31, the Immigration Department received 13,873 applications for the MM2H programme.

“Of the figure, the authorities only approved 4,714 applications,” said Hamzah.

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