Sarawak banks on foreigners seeking second homes

Sarawak hopes to attract more visitors and investors through the Sarawak-Malaysia My Second Home programme.

KUCHING: Sarawak is hoping its recently launched Sarawak-Malaysia My Second Home (S-MM2H) programme will attract more visitors and investors, including those from China.

State tourism minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the decision to continue with the programme would contribute to the economy, through an increase in domestic spending and domestic tourism.

Applications were opened on Sept 1 for S-MM2H, which provides long-term residence permits for foreigners who buy homes here.

Karim said the ministry expected the programme to draw 1,000 new participants, generating an estimated revenue of RM8.34 million and investment of RM31 million, by 2030.

Karim Hamzah

Sim Kiang Chiok, Kuching branch chairman of the Sarawak Housing Estate Developers Association, said the state had decided to lower the age eligibility for S-MM2H, from 50 and above to 40 and above.

“In the past, the second home programme in Sarawak was not as aggressive as in Sabah and the peninsula. We started it as a silver hair programme for pensioners, thus the age eligibility at 50 years and above.”

He said the current focus is on encouraging home ownership among foreigners.

Asked whether the Covid-19 pandemic had forced Chinese investors to sell their Malaysian homes, Sim said the situation is not significant in Sarawak.

“We have a small number of S-MM2H from China, only 214 in the past 13 years,” he said.

The MM2H programme has been suspended in the peninsula because of Covid-19. Sarawak has its own immigration and land policies, which allow the state to continue the programme.