PUTRAJAYA: Home minister Hamzah Zainudin has told foreigners already enrolled in the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme and living here not to worry about the new conditions set by the ministry.
In a press conference, he noted that many existing participants had voiced their concern over the stricter conditions announced last month, which included compulsory fixed deposits (FD) in local banks worth RM1 million and offshore monthly income of RM40,000.
“I know this improvement has made those who have already registered as MM2H holders anxious. Don’t worry, I give my assurance that I will take another look at the standing of those who have already enrolled,” he said.
Hamzah added that the conditions were tightened after the immigration department found that more than 7,000 people enrolled in the programme were believed to be not residing in Malaysia.
He said these individuals would only enter and stay in the country for a short period of time, particularly just to register for the programme and renew their passes.
“The improvements made to the application conditions are to ensure that only those who are of ‘good quality’, genuine and who can really contribute to the nation’s economy are allowed to join the programme,” he said.
Among those who have called for the new MM2H conditions to be reviewed is Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, who said it would dent the country’s revenue and frighten off investors.
Since the programme first began in 2002, 57,478 foreigners have been given long-term MM2H passes, comprising 28,249 principals and 29,229 dependents.
However, the programme was suspended in September 2018 for a review, before being reopened again. It was again temporarily frozen in July last year for another review.
Aside from the higher minimum FDs and offshore monthly income, the new conditions also require applicants to have at least RM1.5 million in liquid assets, compared with between RM300,000 and RM500,000 previously.
The tenure of the renewable multiple-entry visa has also been reduced to five years from 10 years previously. The visa also comes with a new condition that requires all MM2H holders to stay in Malaysia for a total of at least 90 days per year.
Hamzah urged all parties to consider the matter from a broader perspective, pointing out that the programme had not been updated or reviewed for almost 20 years.
He said there was a need to consider the nation’s future and economy in the matter, adding that the stricter criteria would guarantee a better future for Malaysia.
He also said the previous RM10,000 monthly income requirement for participants was irrelevant and too low.
“All applicants and dependents must get through the authorities’ safety filters. For those who are active and residing in the country for certain reasons, we will discuss with them again.
“For example, for those who have stayed in the country for more than 10 years, we will look for ways to continue allowing them to reside here. If possible, those who stay here should be of quality and are capable of helping us economically.”
He added that MM2H had generated RM11.89 billion for the economy from 2002 to 2019 through visa fees, the purchase of real estate and private vehicles, permanent savings and monthly household spending.
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