PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme will be reactivated with improvements to policies and application conditions so as to balance the security and economic aspects.
Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz (pix) said new applications for the programme wlll be processed and managed by the Immigration Department beginning October after all legal processes are completed.
According to him, the Cabinet agreed on July 14 and 30 to the suggested improvements of new MM2H policies as a strategy to assist in the implementation of the National Recovery Plan to regenerate the country’s economy.
“The MM2H application procedures will also be improved by creating an online system for the application, processing and maintaining of the profile database of MM2H participants,” he said in a media conference here on Wednesday. Also present was Immigration director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud.
Wan Ahmad Dahlan said among the improvements to the MM2H programme was the setting of a ceiling on the number of participants, namely the principals and dependants, at any one time, with not more than 1% of the total Malaysian population.
“Only qualified applicants with no criminal records will be allowed to be part of the programme,” he said, adding that the government understood Malaysians’ concerns about the entry of foreigners through the MM2H programme.
He said applicants must reside in Malaysia for a cumulative of at least 90 days in a year so as to ensure they really spent and contribute to the country’s economy, in the form of property rentals or purchases, healthcare services, insurance, education, food and drinks as well as domestic tourism.
Wan Ahmad Dahlan said participants must have an offshore income of at least RM40,000 a month compared to RM10,000 previously.
“The new income conditions are more relevant as the government is targeting high-income participants with adequate capabilities. We also consider the expenses spent on children’s education in international schools for instance, and a suitable lifestyle matching their living standards,” he said.
He said applicants need to have a fixed savings account of RM1 million, compared to previous conditions of at least RM150,000 for applicants above 50 years old and RM300,000 for those 50 years old and below.
Participants also need to make an asset declaration and prove that they own liquid assets of at least RM1.5 million compared to previous conditions that set the value of liquid assets at RM350,000 and RM500,000 according to respective categories, he added.
He said the MM2H programme is now divided into two categories, those between 35 and 49 years old, and 50 years old and above.
“The 35 to the 49-year-old category was introduced to select participants of real quality who are more stable income-wise and have careers,” he said, adding that it was due to changing trends and the spillover effect of programmes similar to MM2H in neighbouring countries, such as Thailand and the Philippines.
Wan Ahmad Dahlan said the duration of the MM2H programme long-term social visit pass was now set to five years and can be extended for another five and so on as long as participants are subject to the compliance of the application conditions, compared to 10 years previously.
He said the rate of the pass fee was increased to RM500 a year from RM90 previously, while a RM5,000 processing fee will be charged for the principal and RM2,500 for each dependant.
“Previously, no processing fee was charged. The processing fee is aimed at increasing the quality of service offered to MM2H participants,” he said.
For renewal of passes, change of principals, change in nationality, participants and dependants must undergo and pass security vetting, and submit a Letter of Good Conduct for participants and dependants, he added.
Wan Ahmad Dahlan said the implementation of new MM2H policies applies to all new applications and applications of extension for existing participants whose MM2H passes have ended or will end.
“This means existing participants, if they are still keen on joining the programme, can seek extensions subject to the new conditions.
“A grace period of a year will be given so that participants can fulfil the new requirements,” he said.
The MM2H programme, introduced in 2002, allowed foreigners to purchase property and reside in Malaysia on a long term basis. It was temporarily frozen in August 2020 to enable the Home Ministry and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to study and review the programme comprehensively.
According to him, the MM2H programme managed to stimulate the country’s economy with a cumulative Gross Value Added income of RM11.89 billion from 2002 to 2019 through visa fees, property purchases, personal vehicle purchases, fixed deposits and monthly household expenditure.
Wan Ahmad Dahlan said the current total of MM2H participants who have been approved was 57,478 people, including dependants of MM2H pass holders.
He stressed that the MM2H programme and entry of participants in Malaysia were still subject to the health policies and standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the National Security Council and risk assessments by the Health Ministry.
When asked if applicants from countries currently banned from entering Malaysia due to high Covid-19 positive cases would be approved, Wan Ahmad Dahlan said the ban was still in effect.
On Sept 7, Malaysia banned entry from 23 countries for having more than 150,000 Covid-19 positive cases.
The countries are the United States, Brazil, India, Russia, Peru, Colombia, South Africa, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Iran, the United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, France, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Iraq, the Philippines and Indonesia. – Bernama