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Friday, August 5, 2022

MM2H ruined by unreasonable conditions, say critics


The government said yesterday nearly 1,500 people have applied to withdraw from the Malaysia My Second Home programme since last September. (File pic)

PETALING JAYA: Critics allege that the government has ruined the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme by imposing unreasonable conditions.

Donal Crotty, chairman of the Irish Chamber of Commerce Malaysia, said it appeared that the government had no “real commitment” to the programme, and Center for Market Education CEO Carmelo Ferlito said Putrajaya had sent a message that it sought to attract only people of high net worth.

The MM2H programme is aimed at drawing foreigners for long-term stay in Malaysia.

Yesterday, home minister Hamzah Zainudin told the Dewan Rakyat that 1,461 people applied to withdraw from the programme between September last year and June this year.

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Hamzah claimed that the withdrawals were not due to the new conditions the government had set.

He said most of the new conditions did not affect current MM2H participants, the exceptions being the pass renewal period, the processing fee and the RM500 renewal fee.

The new conditions, announced last August, include the need for applicants to have permanent savings of at least RM1 million and to declare liquid assets of at least RM1.5 million.

Crotty said the MM2H was originally built on trust, confidence and security, and the government’s policy changes were detrimental to the programme.

“What tends to be forgotten is that confidence and trust not only affect MM2H members but the expat community as a whole and Malaysia’s reputation as a country to invest and live in.

“The sense is that there is no real commitment from the government as the programme is not about the people but the money,” he said.

Ferlito said the new conditions created a negative perception from the MM2H community by signalling to them they were unwelcome if they did not earn enough.

“The measure has not only deterred existing participants but has also contributed to making Malaysia a less attractive destination for investments,” he said.

MM2H Agents Association president Anthony Liew said the new conditions were tough for prospective participants, with many feeling insecure and uncertain with regard to government policies.

He described Putrajaya’s policies as inconsistent and said some clients felt the government was likely to backtrack or change the conditions on a whim.

Previously, prospective MM2H participants needed to have savings of between RM300,000 and RM500,000. An applicant must now also have an offshore income of at least RM40,000 a month, up from RM10,000. - FMT

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