Though no official statement appears to have been made, the signs – and some comments from government leaders – certainly point to an easing of the tough new MM2H requirements.
There is near-unanimous agreement that the government’s strict new eligibility requirements for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme have contributed to a collapse in applications, with those figures plunging some 90% since the new criteria were imposed.
Now, some measure of relief may be on the way.
Malaysian Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Tiong King Sing announced that the current criteria for the MM2H programme, which was tightened dramatically in 2021, is set to be reviewed. In a statement released on April 18, Tiong stated that after a meeting with Home Ministry Secretary-General Ruji Ubi, it was decided that the application process for the program will be made more flexible.
To achieve this, both ministries agreed for Tourism Malaysia to promote and provide recommendations for applications through a filtering process via an MM2H one-stop centre. This centre would assist applicants in processing their applications and collate all necessary information to be forwarded to the Home Ministry or Immigration Department for the issuance of the MM2H pass.
The MM2H programme is ostensibly designed to allow foreigners to retire and live in Malaysia for an extended period. However, stricter MM2H conditions were imposed in August 2021, requiring applicants to show RM1.5 million in liquid assets and have a minimum monthly income of RM40,000. They also need to place RM1 million in a fixed deposit account. Previously, applicants only needed savings of between RM300,000 and RM500,000.
These ‘enhanced’ conditions have been met with months of strident criticism from existing MM2H visa holders and stakeholders, who argue that the new rules are much too stringent. The Penang state government is the latest body to have urged the Home Ministry to urgently review and revise the current MM2H approval conditions.
Upon announcement of the impending review, Penang’s government has praised the move, along with an upcoming assessment of Malaysia’s visa-on-arrival policies.
“The review for MM2H and VOA will be critical components for our country, and I wish that people will start to recognise their potential,” said Penang State Tourism and Creative Economy Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin.
According to MM2H Consultant Association (MM2HCA), since the conditions were introduced in 2021, the programme has seen a 90% drop in the number of applicants. Penang’s State Tourism and Creative Economy Committee Chairman Yeoh Soon Hin stated that these unnecessary hurdles have hampered efforts to attract long-term foreign residents, and if such conditions persist, many expatriates may choose to settle in neighboring countries where they can easily meet the eligibility requirements.
We at TEG Media have long held the position that, if administered fairly and consistently, the MM2H programme brings virtually nothing but net benefits to Malaysia, and has a positive multiplier effect in both economic and reputational terms. We join with many other MM2Hers and stakeholders in welcoming this new review, and hope for a swift return to more reasonable and rational eligibility requirements for MM2H.
A timeline has not yet been given by the government for the review, nor for any possible relaxation of MM2H eligibility criteria.
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