KUALA LUMPUR: Applicants for the Malaysia MySecond Home (MM2H) programme were today told they must not use it to escape from the laws and authorities in their home countries.
The applicants must be “genuine”, tourism, arts and culture ministry secretary-general Isham Ishak said when asked if Hong Kong residents have been applying to join the programme following the street protests there.
He said there has not been any big influx “but I have not seen the records yet, but we do welcome (genuine applicants)”.
“If there are any new participants in Hong Kong interested to come to Malaysia, they are more than welcome, but they must be genuine.
“I mean they should not be running away from something,” he said, adding that background checks would be done on all MM2H applicants.
Isham was speaking to reporters after the launch of the 5th World Tourism Conference, themed “Beyond Tourism – Beyond Expectation”, by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
This follows reports that more wealthy property buyers from Hong Kong are looking to Malaysia as a possible second home as the special administrative region of China struggles with widespread protests.
The reports said that apart from those taking advantage of the MM2H programme – set up to entice wealthy buyers with properties selling for a minimum of RM500,000 – many are also going through other channels and window-shopping within the RM4 million to RM5 million price range.
Toh Chin Leong, chairman of the Penang chapter of the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda), said many Malaysian property agents and developers had been collaborating with agents in Hong Kong for data on buyers there.
“In the next one to two months, many developers are expected to go to Hong Kong to sell Malaysian properties,” Toh said.
Reuters also reported, citing a government official, that the MM2H programme had drawn 251 applications from Hong Kong residents this year, compared to 193 approved last year.
The report cited property consultants as saying interest in the MM2H programme had surged among residents of the wealthy Asian financial hub, rocked by anti-Beijing protests that began over 11 weeks ago.