By Moustafa Daly
Malaysia currently has two nation-wide residency-by-investment programs, Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H), and the more recent Premium Visa Programme (PVIP), both requiring a minimum deposit of RM 1 million ($215,000) in a Malaysia bank for foreigners to qualify for RBI.
The independent Malaysian territory of Sabah, which enjoys a significant level of autonomy in setting its own administrative and immigration policies, has recently announced launching its own version of MM2H, namely SBH-MM2H.
“Among the terms and conditions of the SBH-MM2H programme are a minimum stay of 30 days a year; approved duration for an individual or family is for 5+5 [meaning five years that are renewable to another five] years for stay in Sabah only; eligibility to purchase property (apartments) at a minimum value of RM600,000 and above; certification of good conduct from the applicant’s country of origin; medical check-up certificate; opening of a bank account in any local banks in Sabah with a fixed deposit of RM200,000,” said Sabah’s state minister of tourism Christina Liew in a statement following the announcement of the program earlier this month.
"It is anticipated that these participants will create a significant impact on the State's economy, especially in real property development and the tourism industry," she added.
Is the program in competition with the MM2H program?
While it does grant access rights to the entirety of Malaysia by virtue of having a Sabah residency, the Sabah program is significantly cheaper than the nationwide programs, MM2H and PVIP, requiring a deposit of only RM 200,000, a fifth of the RM 1 million required for the main programs.
The nationwide MM2H program requires proof of liquid assets amounting to RM 1.5 million ($330,033) while for Sabah, the proof of liquid asset is at the threshold of RM 500,000 for those below 50 and RM 350,000 for applicants above 50.
For applicants to the Sabah program who are under 50 years old, a proof of passive income of RM10,000 is required, a quarter of what’s required for PVIP and MM2H, both at 40,000 ($8,644).
Also, successful applicants to the Sabah program can buy property in the territory on loan from Sabah banks that can be up to 80% of the property cost.
The SBH-MM2H is open to all candidates aged 30 or above, and for all nationalities except for Israel, which is not recognized by Malaysia.
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