KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 15): The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) has expressed its concerns over the issues pertaining to the shortages of workers and the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.

ACCCIM said it met with Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Saravanan Murugan and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong today to discuss the two issues.

"We are pleased that the ministers said that the government is fully aware of the situation and will assist to address the shortages of workers," it said in a statement.

According to the ACCCIM, the ministries are working on implementing a transparent and structured foreign workers' hiring system with a robust tracking and monitoring mechanism to ease the recruitment process of migrant workers.

The ACCCIM elaborated that the ministers noted the industry's concerns surrounding the shortages of workers in key economic sectors that have severely impacted production, disrupted business operations and also resulted in being unable to meet new orders.

"The shortage of manpower was aggravated by the limited manpower capacity, subject to the level of vaccinations. Despite the efforts made by many industries to source local manpower to fill the gap, the turnover rate remains high. Effectively, the unemployment rate of 4.8% in July (equivalent to about 780,000 unemployed persons) was not sufficient to meet the demand of industries," it said.

On the issue of MM2H, the ACCCIM said it has raised some reservations on the need to fine-tune the new requirements to make MM2H more competitive relative to Malaysia's regional peers.

"We also indicated that the new requirements must not (be) retrospective; only applicable for new applications," it added.

To recap, Hamzah on Tuesday said the government's intention to improve the conditions for participation in the MM2H programme was to ensure quality candidates and their ability to contribute to the country's economy.

He said flexibility could be given to existing MM2H holders from meeting current conditions, such as having a fixed deposit of at least RM1 million and with maximum withdrawal of 50% allowed on the principal value for purchases of property and children's health and education needs. Other conditions included a declaration of liquid assets of at least RM1.5 million and offshore income of at least RM40,000 per month, he added.

He said the new participants would have to meet all the conditions to ensure they were truly genuine, of high quality, and able to make a positive contribution to the country's economic growth.

Introduced in 2002, the MM2H programme allows foreigners to purchase property and reside in Malaysia on a long-term basis. However, it was temporarily frozen in August 2020 to enable the Home Ministry and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to study and review the programme.

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