Following three weeks of outcry over the restrictive new changes to the programme, the Malaysian government will once again review MM2H.
According to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, the government plans now to re-examine the announced changes to the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, which were publicised on August 11 to fierce pushback. Two days ago, the Sultan of Johor added his own criticism, calling the new requirements both overly restrictive and damaging to the country.
The loudest outcry came in response to Malaysia announcing it would even impose the onerous new criteria on existing MM2H pass holders, a move that would force nearly all of them to leave the country, consequently causing significant damage to the residential property market as billions of ringgit in real estate was unloaded onto a market already experiencing a glut of unsold homes.
Critics have also suggested that the changes would signal to international investors that foreigners were unwelcome in Malaysia, damaging the country’s reputation and negatively impacting foreign investment.
MM2H Consultants Association president Anthony Liew expressed his relief at the government’s willingness to conduct a review.
“The MM2H programme impacts several sectors of the economy such as property developers, banks, retailers, tourism, and education,” Liew said. “As such, we hope the ministry will engage not only us, but also the other relevant stakeholders so that we can provide our input.”
Malaysia Tourism Council (MTC) president Uzaidi Udanis said about 150 representatives from affected sectors held a virtual meeting last Friday regarding the new conditions, which are meant to go into effect in October.
He urged the ministry to consider introducing more “agile regulations,” especially during the pandemic recovery period. “The government does not need to accept all our proposals, but just to have a look at them and make the necessary adjustment,” Uzaidi urged.
TEG Media’s CEO, Andy Davison, has been closely involved with the MM2H programme since its inception in 2002. Since the pandemic began, he has spent countless hours working and communicating with affected MM2Hers, some of whom have been locked out of the country, and more recently, others of whom would be impacted by the new changes. (TEG Media also operates an MM2H agency.)
Davison also expressed his relief at the government’s decision to re-examine the announced changes, and added his hope that the input of relevant stakeholders would be taken into account and seriously considered, particularly given how beneficial the MM2H programme has proven to be for Malaysia – both the economy and its people.
“Our research showed that over 95% of existing visa holders would have to leave the country if the new rules are applied to them, which would hurt the Malaysian economy,” he said. “We also found that more than 95% of potential applicants would no longer be eligible, which means the positive impact that was hoped for would not materialise.”
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