‘Thailand now a powerful contender to MM2H plan’

GEORGE TOWN: The Federal Government needs to watch out for Thailand’s new visa measures, which stand to make the nation a powerful contender to the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, says Penang exco member Yeoh Soon Hin.

The Penang tourism and creative economy committee chairman said Thailand recently introduced a new visa and tax measure to lure wealthy foreigners to pave the nation out of its economic contraction.

“Thailand’s stance with this new visa programme is very clear, they are driving foreign investments by encouraging top-tier global communities to relocate to Thailand to ultimately aid their country’s economy,” he said in a statement yesterday.

While welcoming the reactivation of MM2H after a year of suspension, Yeoh said it should not have such a significant bump with the new requirements.

“I understand that the Federal Government wants to target high-income participants with adequate capabilities with these new thresholds. However, we need to understand the gravity of MM2H in the international visa scheme landscape.

“MM2H’s competitiveness stemmed from its friendly requirements.

“If we want to compete against Thailand’s new visa scheme, easing our MM2H requirement is a mandatory measure,” he added.

Yeoh pointed out the strict MM2H requirements would also put Penang at a disadvantage despite the state being one of the preferred destinations for expatriates, especially having repeatedly received accolades from CNN, International Living and New York Post.

He also urged Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin to hasten his response to the dismay over the latest MM2H requirements. It was announced on Aug 11 that MM2H would be reactivated with nine new conditions after the programme was suspended in August last year.

The revised terms and requirements of MM2H, which takes effect in October, includes an increase in the minimum monthly income (derived from offshore sources) to RM40,000, a minimum fixed deposit of RM1mil, a minimum liquidity requirement of RM1.5mil, a yearly visa fee of RM500 and a reduction of the visa duration to five years.

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