KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 1): Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme is reopening today, but the excitement for the much-awaited reopening has been dampened by the lack of clarity concerning its revised regulations, said EdgeProp Malaysia editor-in-chief and managing director Au Foong Yee.
In Astro Awani's "Consider This" live programme hosted virtually by Melisa Idris and Sharaad Kuttan on Sept 30 at 10pm, Au pointed out that the recent revised terms and conditions of MM2H still have many questions unanswered.
“Though the programme is reopening tomorrow, it is still lacking clarity. For example, what does the government mean by ‘high-quality applicant’? Does it mean those who have big bank accounts?"
She stressed that an engagement between the government and stakeholders is very much needed to ensure the programme does not lose its objective of attracting eligible foreigners to make their second homes in Malaysia and bring in the needed foreign investment.
“That is why we need an engagement [between the government and stakeholders] to talk about the concerns and come up with the solution together,” Au pointed out.
In Aug 2020, the government decided to suspend the scheme abruptly, saying it needed to review the policies which had not been touched since 2002.
After a year's hiatus, the government announced that the programme would be reopened, but with much stiffer terms and conditions in order to attract “high-quality” applicants. Some of the revised conditions include the requirement for applicants to reside in Malaysia for a minimum cumulative 90 days in a year, an offshore income of at least RM40,000 a month compared to RM10,000 previously, fixed savings account of RM1 million compared to at least RM150,000 (above 50 years old) and RM300,000 (50 years old and below) previously, as well as liquid assets of at least RM1.5 million compared to at least RM350,000 previously.
Besides, the visa duration has also now been set to five years and can be extended for another five years as long as participants comply with the set conditions, compared to 10 years previously.
“Everyone knows what MM2H is and why we are doing it. At this point, we just have to make the decision – [does] Malaysia still want the programme or not? And why do we want it and what do we need to do to retain the objective?
“After spending a year reviewing the terms and conditions, the programme is going to resume with a lot of surprises. It is certainly not going to do well for the image of Malaysia,” Au said.
(Read MM2H: How serious are we?)
When asked about the concerns on the rising number of foreign property ownership in Malaysia, Au is confident that the law will ensure the rights of local homeseekers are protected.
“Firstly, the MM2H applicants' money does not flow directly into the accounts of developers [alone] as it is not necessary for them to invest in local property. Even if they wanted to invest [in property], what is wrong with that? Our law is governing the foreign purchase of our real estate. There is nothing to worry about.
“What we should worry about is whether we still want the programme and its economic contribution to the country. If we want it, the government should sit down and talk about the concerns with stakeholders. The engagement is important, putting the ear to the ground is also very important,” Au concluded.
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