Revive Sabah My Second Home (SM2H) programme, urges Yong amid Sabah-MM2H issue

KOTA KINABALU: The state government should revive the Sabah My Second Home (SM2H) programme to allow non-Sabahan Malaysians to invest in properties in the state, says Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee.

The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president said since the SM2H programme, which he had proposed in August 2023, is targeted only at other Malaysians, it falls entirely under the Sabah government's immigration authority and hence does not require the Federal Government’s involvement.

"Transferring funds within Malaysia, from other states to Sabah, is straightforward for property purchases.

“This simple programme could have been initiated on Jan 1, 2024. Unlike the Sabah-MM2H, which is for non-Malaysians, this SM2H is specifically for Malaysians," Yong noted.

The former Sabah chief minister also suggested that once the Sabah authorities demonstrate efficient management of the SM2H programme, they can move forward with the Sabah-MM2H programme for foreign nationals later this year.

"Currently, even Sabah's business community is unclear about how the Sabah-MM2H programme works. My questions in the legislative assembly have gone unanswered."

He hopes that once the Sabah-M2H programme is operational, the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew will see the benefits and collaborate with the federal Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry to advance the Sabah-MM2H initiative.

Discussing Sabah-MM2H, Yong highlighted that foreign applicants are typically business people who require confidence in their investment's security and residency privileges.

Yong, however, noted that the ongoing dispute between Liew and federal Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has undermined this confidence.

He also stressed the need for a clear and committed stance from both Sabah and the federal government to attract Sabah-MM2H participants.

While Sabah's autonomy over immigration is respected, foreign investors are aware they need federal immigration permits to enter Malaysia.

Yong cited a past policy misalignment between Sabah and the federal government during the Covid-19 era regarding dine-in services at eateries.

"While the federal National Safety Council had not allowed dine-in, Sabah permitted it, and there was no federal enforcement against this."

He stressed that the Sabah-MM2H programme is far more complex than the dine-in policies.

"The Sabah-MM2H involves foreign passport holders investing at least RM600,000 each in Sabah properties, which they cannot easily liquidate,” said Yong.

On May 27, Tiong issued a directive to suspend the operations of all licensed agents handling MM2H applications, including those in East Malaysia.

Liew, on Friday (June 7), said Sabah will proceed with the MM2H, with or without the ministry’s greenlight, adding that the programme will not contravene the law as they have sat with the police, Immigration Department and other relevant authorities to approve the applications under the programme.

Tiong later hit back at Liew through his Facebook post, claiming that the latter had not been attending meetings, nor sending any representative when matters regarding MM2H were discussed.

To date, Liew has not responded to Tiong’s allegations.

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