The never-shy Sultan of Malaysia’s southernmost state lends his highly influential voice to the chorus of critics urging Malaysia to immediately rescind its announced changes to the MM2H programme.
The drastic and unwelcome changes to the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme will, in the words of Johor’s esteemed Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, “tarnish Malaysia’s image and make us a laughingstock of the world.”
The Sultan, in a lengthy post on the state monarch’s official Facebook page, also stressed that making these changes would drive away foreign investment, scare off tourists, and negatively impact Malaysia’s international reputation.
He urged the government to reconsider the new requirements, as going forward with the announced changes will dampen foreigners’ interest in coming to Malaysia and force existing MM2H visa holders to flee the country.
The Sultan criticised the new changes on the whole, but perhaps reserved his most pointed attack for the decision to impose the new changes on existing MM2Hers, despite the government’s previous promise to not do so, calling this move “ridiculous.”
He also noted — correctly, we feel — that driving away thousands of existing MM2H visa holders currently living in the country who will not qualify under the dramatically increased thresholds required for approval would significantly dent the country’s revenues, negatively impacting Malaysia’s finances at a time when foreign exchange and investment should be most welcome.
The move to implement these changes, Sultan Ibrahim said, would result in a “massive revenue loss for Malaysia.”
He further expressed his concern that continually changing the terms and conditions would only cause foreigners to lose confidence in Malaysia, and he urged the government to consider maintaining the existing requirements for the MM2H programme, saying that now was not the right time to raise fees and increase minimum requirements.
Resident expats and certainly MM2Hers, both existing and prospective, are no doubt grateful to His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar for weighing in on this issue. The Sultan wields considerable influence and power in Malaysia, and his is certainly the most noteworthy voice in the country to have spoken out against the announced changes to MM2H, a programme which has, since its inception in 2002, been a highly successful initiative for Malaysia and its people.
We certainly hope the Sultan’s words are taken to heart, and his advice heeded.
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