“Stringent MM2H policy is a sure economic loss to Malaysia”

THERE is a need to alleviate security concerns – or a spike in the number of participants from a particular country – rather than overlooking the economic potential in the drafting of policies pertaining to the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.

This is because both concerns can be managed by having separate policies and processes to avoid any abuse of the MM2H visa, according to the Association of Valuers, Property Managers, Estate Agents and Property Consultants in the Private Sector Malaysia (PEPS).

“MM2H participants currently account for less than 1% with half of that total being dependents of the total population but generating a high commercial turnover and multiplier effect based on the spending,” observed PEPS.

“There should be more progressive policies to further increase the number of participants as they are contributing to the economy as compared to foreign workers who generate foreign outflows by repatriating money to their home countries.”

Elaborating further, PEPS said that unlike the foreign workforce, MM2H participants are net importers of foreign currency who add to the economy by way of multiplier spending.

“They are socially less problematical as the Government does not have to provide the medical, social services because all these are paid for and borne by the participants and they do not cause any burden to the Malaysian employers as do the foreign workforce.”

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh has recently warned the Government over potentially driving away the much needed foreign investment and the expatriate community who has made Malaysia home with its new rulings and regulations for the MM2H programme.

Pointing out that many MM2H participants live in her Segambut parliamentary constituency which covers neighbourhoods like Mont Kiara and Sri Hartamas, the DAP parliamentarian said the new stringent rules could not be met by majority of MM2H participants, hence could lead to a “mass exodus” which would hurt the local economy across several sectors.

Following the temporary freeze on the MM2H programme since August 2020 for the Tourism Ministry and the Immigration Department to review and improve the programme, the Government announced on Aug 11 that it would be restarting MM2H again – beginning October – with changes to nine conditions.

Among them, participants need a fixed deposit of at least RM1 mil and liquid assets of RM1.5 mil (instead of RM300,000-RM500,000 previously); monthly income of at least RM40,000 (instead of RM10,000 previously); and stay in Malaysia a minimum of 90 days.

“The potential negative impact on the new draconian policies will result in at least RM3.7 bil loss to the country (annually) from fixed deposit, visa fees, hotel accommodation, medical insurance and check-ups and that does not include the purchase of property, car, children education, F&B, retail purchases and consumer spending,” cautioned PEPS.

“The new policies should gear up more on attracting genuine and good quality foreigners globally, not necessarily the upper high-end income earners of which they will always choose developed countries and enhance security features as well as tailor to country’s profile on the process and procedures.” – Sept 6, 2021

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