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Clarification of the MM2H Report by The New Straits Times

Image credit: Yuriy Kovalev

This is written in response to a report in the New Straits Times regarding the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme which caused alarm among some of the visa holders and confusion among others involved with the programme.

At TEG Media we have been closely involved with the MM2H programme for the last 15 years and regularly interact with visa holders. The report on page 10 of today’s NST (Tuesday Nov 11th) quotes the Minster of Housing and Local Development, Zuraida Kamaruddin replying to questions in Parliament about the MM2H programme.

In reply to the first question, about foreign ownership of property, she advised that less than 1% of housing is owned by foreigners. In fact recent reports revealed that in recent years foreigners were buying a lot less than 1% of new property developments. More importantly the requirement in most States is that any property purchased by foreigners must be priced above RM1 million so there would little inflationary impact on lower priced properties. Even on higher priced properties, the volume of purchases by foreigners is so low it would have little impact.

A second question asked for the rationale for the MM2H programme. Sadly, the response was not at all accurate and did not really answer the question. It is not clear if this was inaccurate reporting by the NST journalist or the Minister was not properly informed.

She advised that there were stringent criteria to apply for the programme including that applicants must be over 50 and are coming here for reasons such as medical treatment or education for their children. In fact the programme is open to anyone over 21, although the requirements are slightly different for people below the age of 50. The reasons for coming here are not material factors and many people never relocate here, while others decide to spend the rest of their lives in Malaysia.

It was also reported that the period of stay is “only 10 years” and the applicants have to make a RM3,000,000 deposit. In fact the initial visa is for ten years but it is renewable and the fixed deposit requirement is currently RM150,000 for people over 50 and RM300,000 for those below that age.

The Malaysia My Second Home programme is excellent, offering a very attractive lifestyle for the people joining it, and is actually a welcome contribution to the Malaysian economy. Applicants have to earn over RM10,000 a month from outside Malaysia so the ones who relocate here make significant contributions to consumer spending in Malaysia, and bring in valuable foreign exchange. With the Malaysia population growing by over 500,000 people a year the social impact of the few foreigners who relocate here is negligible. Since the programme was launched in 2002 there have only been around 40,000 approvals and less than half have actually relocated here.

MM2H-ers do not live in exclusive expat compounds but generally want to be absorbed in the local community. The majority have many Malaysian friends and are respectful of the local culture and want to be contributing members of the resident population. In this respect they are preferable to tourists whose primary objective is to enjoy themselves for a few days and depart.

It is also worth noting that MM2H-ers contribute to tourism revenues through their frequent local travels and bring in many friends who typically travel around the country. In addition, it is worth noting that older people place increased value on good medical facilities so by choosing to live here, they are tacitly endorsing Malaysian medical tourism.

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Finally, the fact that these people choose to live in Malaysia is an excellent endorsement of the country and a powerful counter argument to those who spread negative stress about Malaysia. We are aware that many people do not understand the many benefits of the programme. We also feel the programme could benefit from some changes which could ensure it makes an even bigger contribution to Malaysia’s future economic growth.

We hope we have cleared up some of the confusion regarding the latest news. If you have any questions or need assistance about MM2H, feel free to e-mail us at [email protected]

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