MM2H agents in limbo following halt in licence renewals

PETALING JAYA: Recent regulatory changes by the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry have left more than 20 Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) agents in limbo, facing a suspension of business due to a halt in licence renewals.

Alia Windya, director of AALIA (MM2H) Sdn Bhd, said her company currently has 11 clients requiring follow-up services, including visa renewals, transfer endorsements for those renewing passports, and addition of family members.

“There are clients with new family members, such as babies, or who want to add their parents; all these applications require our services,” she said.

“I also have a client who needs to renew a visa for another five years; it all needs to be handled now,” she said.

A veteran of the industry since 1999, Alia said she is accustomed to policy updates, but the latest one is the trickiest she has encountered.

She expressed hope that the ministry would soon inform them of its next steps.

“We are legitimate agents, and the ministry cannot simply disallow licence renewals or prevent us from operating without reasonable cause,” she added.

Another MM2H agent, Choy Wee Ming, mentioned having three or four clients in urgent need of visa renewals who have already purchased flight tickets and booked hotels to come to Malaysia this week.

“Visa renewals require the physical presence of clients, and they do not have the time to keep travelling to and from the MM2H centre to manage paperwork,” Choy said.

“The latest abrupt notification has put my company in a financial bind. Without income, we can’t pay our employees’ salaries,” added Choy, who has been in the industry since 2013 and now serves over 100 clients.

MM2H Consultants Association president Anthony Liew noted that the licences of at least 29 agents expired last December.

Despite indications from the ministry that they would be allowed to continue serving their existing clients until March 31, these agents were unexpectedly informed by the ministry’s licensing and enforcement division that they could no longer continue.

“Among these agents, some have served many clients for years, assisting with renewing or terminating visas. We understand the ministry’s wish to reform the policy by temporarily halting renewals, but agents should still be permitted to carry on,” Liew said.

“They shouldn’t be expected to transfer their longtime clients to other operational MM2H agents, as it would be like sabotaging their livelihood,” he added.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing had earlier disclosed that the ministry would regulate agents or consultancy companies for the MM2H programme, requiring all agents to re-register.

He said the ministry would scrutinise the backgrounds of existing agents, and those deemed unsuitable would not have their operating licences renewed.

In response, the ministry intends to standardise the fees collected by agencies, though a final decision has yet to be made.

At press time, Tiong has not responded to a request for comment on the issue.

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