KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) has dismissed fears of terrorism and the tragedy of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 as contributing factors to a major decline in the number of Japanese citizens wanting to migrate to Malaysia.
Its president Tan Kok Liang was responding to claims made by an official with the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.
MM2H senior assistant director Sharifah Ikhlas was quoted by Japan Times earlier this week, commenting on the huge drop in the number of Japanese migrants over the past five years.
She had added that the reduced numbers could also be attributed to a lack of funds from the government to promote the MM2H programme.
Sharifah was referring to data showing that around 200 Japanese citizens moved here under the programme this year, compared with a high of 816 in 2012.
“Just like any other programmes or business, annual performances are bound to be cyclical.
“Extra promotional efforts will only yield slightly better results for the year, and not necessarily be better than the best years,” Tan told FMT.
He also suggested that the government revisit the terms and conditions for approving MM2H applications, saying that some flexibility could help boost the number of foreigners wanting to migrate to Malaysia.
“Other than that, the warm weather is kind to elderly folks, while we are located outside the ring of fire where earthquakes and volcano eruptions pose real danger,” he said.
The Japan Times report had also quoted the director of a company appointed as an official agent by MM2H, as saying that there were other factors for the drop in Japanese citizens moving here.
NS Vision Marketing director Naoki Nakamura said this year’s migration numbers are similar to the rate of migration by Japanese to Malaysia under MM2H prior to the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and the consequent nuclear disaster, in northeast Japan.
According to Naoki, many Japanese had wanted to migrate following the disaster, and this trend has since turned around with fewer people fearing a repeat of such a natural disaster and nuclear fallout.
Meanwhile, it was reported that the tourism and culture ministry said the number of Japanese approved under the programme stood at 4,295 as of June this year, with the Japanese being second only to migrants from China, who number at 9,280.