Resident expats in limbo

  • Letters
  • Saturday, 28 Mar 2020

I AM writing to express my genuine concern regarding the decision not to allow people with the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) visa into the country during the movement control order (MCO) period. This seems very unfair to people who have made Malaysia their home and place of permanent residence.

I have been closely involved with the programme since it started and have sat in many government meetings to give input, and would like to think I have contributed to its success.

There are two broad categories of people who take the visa, those who want to come and live here and those who have no intention of relocating but usually visit occasionally. It stands to reason that those who choose to live here are the most attractive for Malaysia. They usually buy a house, car and other capital items. In addition, their average spend, according to our research, is around RM10,000 per month or RM120,000 a year. It is easy to see how a few thousand people with the visa can contribute billions of ringgit a year to the Malaysian economy, a most welcome contribution and even more so at times like this.

Research we did last year shows that just over 60% of the MM2H responders who live here said they planned to spend the rest of their lives in Malaysia. In other words, they have made Malaysia their permanent home.

There are many reasons to like Malaysia, one being the many countries which one can visit while based here. Resident MM2Hers who are usually retired and over 60 like to travel. When the MCO was imposed, some were travelling overseas but never thought they would be denied access to their homes, but that is what has happened. They are now stuck in foreign countries, incurring a lot of extra and unexpected expenses.

I have received emails from a number of them asking if I can help but so far my efforts have been unsuccessful. Apart from the humanitarian factor of denying senior citizens access to their homes, I think this also sends a very negative message to the international community about the programme and how Malaysia treats people whom they have invited to come and live here.

I sincerely hope someone reading your good newspaper will be able to do something to help those MM2Hers who have a home in Malaysia return to them. Of course, they are willing to go into self-isolation and be tested for the virus.



Kuala Lumpur

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