Make economic decisions on MM2H issue, says analyst

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 5): The government needs to make economic decisions on the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme issue, as the country is facing competition from similar programmes in the region and across the globe.

On the new MM2H policy which has received flak from various groups, crisis management analyst Nordin Abdullah said it was important to acknowledge that participants of the programme are investors that contribute to the nation’s economy and should be engaged before the policy was introduced.

“This is retirement business. They (expatriates) look at countries that are more sustainable to live in.

“In essence, yes, they did not pump in billions of dollars like that of a factory or retail chain, but the reality is that they are investors,” he said on Bernama TV’s "The Brief" programme here on Tuesday.

Nordin also noted that it was very important that the government set a global benchmarking on the MM2H type of investors, as there was massive room for growth in the programme.

The 30-minute discussion, titled "MM2H Charting A Way Forward" was hosted by Jessy Chahal and joined by chief executive officer and founder of TEG Media, Andy Davison, as well as KL Wellness City Sdn Bhd director, Datuk Seri Vincent Tiew.

Davison, whose company businesses include publications and MM2H visa services, said it was important that the government include stakeholders in discussions on the issue as the feedback he had received from those interested in the programme and the expat community in general had put Malaysia in a bad light.

“The economic impact on Malaysia is not so enormous, but you are talking about tens of thousands of people getting around the world, telling their friends negative stories...instead of telling how wonderful Malaysia is,” he said.

Unfortunately, Davison said, after the announcement on the new rules, he received negative feedback from the community and this would have negative repercussions for the business people looking to invest here.

“They are also saying that maybe Malaysia isn’t as welcoming as they thought. So they also start to think twice about investing here. This has been extremely damaging for Malaysia,” he added.

On Aug 11, the Home Ministry announced that MM2H, previously frozen, would be reactivated with improvements made to the application policy and conditions for the purpose of balancing security and the economic aspects.

Among the improvements to the MM2H programme are that the applicants must reside in Malaysia for a cumulative of at least 90 days in a year, have an offshore income of at least RM40,000 a month compared to RM10,000 previously, as well as a fixed savings account of RM1 million.

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