Motac decision to suspend MM2H agents done without consultation, says S'wak minister

KUCHING: Sarawak wants to know why the Federal Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac) suspended the operations of Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) agents in the Bornean states without prior discussion.

State Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said he was "very disappointed" by the move, particularly as his federal counterpart Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing is a fellow Sarawakian.

Abdul Karim said Motac should have discussed the matter with Sabah and Sarawak instead of pushing it through, given the differing MM2H conditions between the peninsula and the Bornean states.

ALSO READ: MM2H agents in limbo following halt in licence renewals

"On May 27, Motac issued a directive to suspend the operations of all licensed agents handling MM2H applications, including those in Sabah and Sarawak.

"This has crippled the MM2H programme in Sabah and Sarawak," he told reporters after inspecting preparations for the Rainforest World Music Festival at the Sarawak Cultural Village here on Friday (June 7).

Abdul Karim's criticism comes after Sabah said it might consider going ahead with its own MM2H programme regardless of Motac's directive.

On Thursday (June 6), Sabah's Tourism, Culture, and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew said the directive derailed the state's plans to roll out its MM2H programme.

She said her ministry would appoint and authorise state representatives to process applications for the Sabah-MM2H programme instead.

ALSO READ: Malaysia's MM2H programme faces rigorous agency review to protect applicants

Abdul Karim also said Sabah and Sarawak had different conditions for the MM2H programme than those in Peninsular Malaysia, as both states had immigration autonomy.

"For example, applicants in Sarawak are only required to place a fixed deposit of RM150,000 compared to RM1mil in the peninsula.

"That is why applications for the Sarawak-MM2H programme have increased by 90% while in the peninsula, it has declined by 90%," he said.

Abdul Karim said if the ministry's directive was to make way for a new policy, it should only apply in Peninsular Malaysia and not in Sabah and Sarawak.

ALSO READ: Sabah may proceed with its own MM2H programme despite federal directive, says state Tourism Minister

"Any changes affecting Sabah and Sarawak should be discussed with us first, rather than Motac making decisions on its own and expecting both states to follow," he said.

Abdul Karim also said the Sarawak government would pursue the issue with the Federal Government.

"We will not rock the boat. However, we expect the federal government, through Motac, to be considerate of our MM2H policies, which have been endorsed by the state Cabinet.

"(Yet) here comes the Federal minister who pushes it away, thinking he is bigger," he said.

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