After a long hiatus, the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme is back but not without causing a stir. While stakeholders were initially happy that the long-awaited return of the programme, which allows foreigners to stay in the country on a long-term basis, the happiness was short-lived.
There are now 10 new stricter criteria that participants have to meet in order to qualify for the reactivated programme, causing much distress to the 57,748 MM2H holders who had already contributed about RM11.98bil to the economy. While pointing out that the programme will help the nation’s economic recovery plan, the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) is concerned with the new rules.
This same worry is also reflected by global real estate agency Rahim & Co International Sdn Bhd executive chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rahim, among others. “I think the government should reconsider this (new criteria). It is unfair for those who are already in the programme. Many have adopted Malaysia, and they have been an asset to the nation and have benefited the economy,” he told StarProperty.
For those who are already in the MM2H programme and made Malaysia their home, the criteria should not change, he said, adding that even if there were to be an increase, it should not be as drastic as those in the new criteria. This will only encourage these people to look at other nations that offer more conducive criteria, and in the end, Malaysia would lose out, he reasoned. In addition, the new rules will likely scare off prospective MM2H candidates in an already volatile property environment made more difficult by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Among the criteria causing turmoil include that MM2H holders:
- must have an offshore income of at least RM40,000 a month, up from RM10,000 per month previously;
- must have permanent savings of at least RM1mil and a declaration of liquid assets of at least RM1.5mil, compared to the previous savings of between RM300,000 and RM500,000;
- pay renewal fees of RM500 from RM90 for their visas;
- And must now pay a processing fee of RM5,000 for the principal participant and RM2,500 for each dependent.
Previously, there was no processing fee. According to MIEA, applying these new rules to existing MM2H recipients will dampen the programme. “Policies need to be consistent in order to promote confidence. We propose that all existing MM2H pass holders should not be affected by this new ruling. It is more so to show our credibility in the laws we introduced and uphold it as there exists trust and goodwill from those who participated in the programme,” it said in a written statement.
In the light of the pandemic and in order to allow sufficient time for preparation, MIEA proposed to defer the new criteria to Dec 2022. “We should have plans for the recovery of the real estate sector and we see that MM2H will play an important part if we play the cards well. Malaysia is not the only country with this programme and making it harder will drive new applicants away,” it said.