By Uglobal Staff
The Malaysian government is expected to revive the suspended Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program soon, perhaps in a matter of weeks, as the country looks to give a boost to its pandemic-ravaged economy.
The MM2H program used to be popular among foreigners looking to live for the long term in Malaysia before it was officially suspended last year following the outbreak of COVID-19.
Malaysian Tourism Minister Nancy Shukri recently announced that the reformed MM2H was now just one step away from getting the final Cabinet approval.
In remarks made to the Malay daily, Sinar Harian, on March 25, the minister revealed she was fine with the changes suggested by an international firm hired by her ministry to evaluate the MM2H and soon the Cabinet would look into the issue to make a final decision.
“For us (the firm’s report), it looks okay. God willing, we will bring this matter to the Cabinet and once it has been approved, we can reopen MM2H,” the daily quoted Shukri as saying.
Security is one of the major concerns in the program and the minister highlighted the fact that the Malaysian ministries of home affairs and immigration were also closely involved in coordination with her ministry in reevaluating the MM2H.
CHANGES EXPECTED IN MM2H
According to the official Facebook page of the tourism minister, Malaysia had hired the global firm, KPMG, to scrutinize the MM2H, which proposed that the program should be split into two separate programs: one which is specific for retirees and another broader residence-by-investment program.
“In my opinion, the new ideas put forward will reinvigorate the MM2H program which will contribute to the national economy. Among the proposals by KPMG include the program’s target market, marketing strategies, dissemination of program information, effective guidelines as well as the introduction of two new programs - namely the Retirement Program (RP) and Resident through Investment or Residence by Investment (RBI),” the minister Shukri added in her Facebook post.
Prior to the suspension, the MM2H offered 10-year renewable visas to foreigners who could meet the minimum threshold of liquid assets. For individuals above the age of 50, the requirement was to have a fixed deposit account at a Malaysian bank with at least $40,000, while those younger (but above the age of 21) were required to have double that amount.
The major benefits for foreigners under MM2H were that they were not required to buy or rent property, and could stay for as long, or as short, a period they liked using this visa scheme. This program not only suited retirees looking to spend well earned downtime in a safe and beautiful country, but also the younger generation looking for remote working opportunities.
In this post pandemic world, one can expect that people looking to set up remote working base would find the reformed MM2H a very attractive option.
LOSSES DUE TO SUSPENSION
Malaysia had abruptly suspended its MM2H program last year following the COVID outbreak. The first suspension came in March 18, 2020, which lasted until April 30, 2020. The program was again suspended on Aug. 30, 2020, and the government announced that it would only reopen the program following a comprehensive review.
Several foreigners were left stranded abroad following the suspension. And while the government did allow last year those with valid MM2H visas to enter the country for a short interval following the suspension, one can find several people complaining on social media that they remain in limbo.
The Malaysian My Second Home Consultants Association (MM2HCA), which represents 250 member companies, estimates that 90 percent of the agents in the industry have shut their businesses down following the government’s suspension order.
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