Months after a revised MM2H programme was submitted to the Cabinet for final approval, nothing has happened and no reasons have been offered as to why.
In our continuing efforts to try and support the beleaguered MM2H programme, TEG Media CEO Andy Davison wrote another letter to The Star newspaper about the damage being done to the programme. The letter was published in the July 13 edition.
Mr Davison has previously written about the unfair treatment of people holding the MM2H visa, but this time, the focus was more on why the government has inexplicably still not approved the revised programme, which the Ministry of Tourism reportedly submitted to the Cabinet some four months ago.
The full transcript of his letter is set out below:
I have been a strong supporter of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme since it was first launched, and I sat on various government committees providing input into it. The suspension of the MM2H programme in July last year has resulted in a significant loss of income for the country.
I am writing now because it is not clear why the government has still not approved the revised programme, or advised what is happening to it. When the suspension was announced, the honourable Tourism Minister indicated a new programme would be announced at the end of 2020. That did not happen. In March this year, the minister advised that the revised programme only needed Cabinet approval. However, four months have passed and still there is no news about it.
This has led some people, including existing visa holders, to worry that the government plans to shut down this visa. The lack of clarity has also caused some potential applicants to tell us they are now considering other countries’ retirement visas.
Covid-19 restrictions should have no impact on relaunching the MM2H programme, as we assume that applicants could still apply without coming to Malaysia. It is only several months later when, and if, their applications are approved that they would want to come and collect the visas. The government could ask them to wait until border controls are more relaxed or help the Malaysian economy sooner by allowing fully vaccinated approved applicants to enter earlier. This would contribute many millions if not billions of ringgit worth of foreign currency to the economy as these applicants bring in funds to purchase property, cars, and, of course, to cover living expenses. We would have thought the government would welcome this contribution to the economy.
Equally important, it would provide welcome relief to the many approved MM2H agents who have been promoting Malaysia and this programme for many years and have had a very tough time during the suspension of the programme. Many agents have already been forced to reduce staff, cut pay, and some even closed. As soon as the programme is relaunched agents can start taking deposits from qualified applicants which will ease their hardship.
We know MM2H agents are not the only ones suffering from the impact of this pandemic but opening up the programme is a zero-risk solution to ease their current hardship and ultimately benefit Malaysia.
At the same time, we hope the government will consider letting fully vaccinated MM2H visa holders, whose visas expired while they were locked out of the country, back into Malaysia to renew them. There are now quite a few MM2H visa holders who are stuck overseas just because their visas expired and they were not able to renew them.
When asked if he expected any response, Mr Davison replied, “Based on the results of our past efforts, and those of other people, we are once again not expecting any response. However, as long as there is a chance the government will respond, we feel we should keep trying. If the government wants to shut down the programme, that is of course their prerogative, but leaving it in limbo like this just causes more losses for the country and leads to a lot of people feeling insecure. I firmly believe the MM2H programme is an excellent initiative which greatly benefits the country, so it has been discouraging to witness the discriminatory treatment many visa holders have suffered.”
Addressing the current challenges the country is facing, not least of which are economic, Mr Davison added, “We understand that there is serious focus on managing the Covid crisis, and rightly so, but approving the revised MM2H programme and at least allowing interested people to apply for future entry – once the pandemic is behind us – would not impact the current fight against the virus at all.
“Moreover, MM2H has proven to be a significant economic net positive for the country, and frankly speaking, Malaysia could use the income, so turning their backs on the MM2H programme makes no sense. We very much hope a resolution is forthcoming soon.”
As more understanding of the nature of the MM2H programme and its solid benefits to Malaysia come to bear, a growing chorus of Malaysians are speaking out, as well, urging the government to restart the programme and reap its economic benefits. We couldn’t agree more.
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