Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, RAHIMY RAHIM and TARRENCE TAN
CITING “security threat” as the reason for the recent review of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme is unjustified, says the Malaysia My Second Home Consultants Association.
Its president Anthony Liew said using security threat as a basis for the review would only penalise genuine applicants who intended to make the country their second home.
“It is a matter of enforcement and there are other ways of ensuring tighter control. For example, authorities here could tighten the vetting process of applicants from a certain country if there are concerns,” he said at a joint press conference at the Parliament lobby hosted by Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh and Balik Pulau MP Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik.
Liew said there were genuine applicants who might not be rich or “high quality people” but who have good backgrounds.
“They may not be super-rich but they are decent people who honestly wish to make Malaysia their second home,” he added.
He also said recent figures cited by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin on the revenue generated by the programme was below the actual amount.
“The minister said that based on the Home Ministry’s calculation, MM2H generated RM11.89bil between 2002 and 2019.
“This figure does not take into account revenue generated from education, tourism and retail sales which amounted to RM21.1bil between 2007 and 2019,” he said, adding that the association had submitted a memorandum to the ministry on Monday.
On Sept 14, Hamzah told the Dewan Rakyat that the review was done to attract high quality participants who were genuine and could contribute positively to economic growth.
Yeoh meanwhile said there was no data to back up claims that participants of the programme were “security threats”.
She added that such generalisation should not penalise all MM2H participants.
Muhammad Bakhtiar proposed that the MM2H programme be returned to the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.
The former deputy tourism minister said the country could not afford to lose out on foreign investments due to the new conditions imposed on applicants.