PUTRAJAYA: The Premium Visa programme, which has only received 28 applications since it was launched last year, will be reviewed, says home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
With only two applicants approved so far – comprising one principal participant and a dependent – Saifuddin said the programme, which was introduced by the previous government, had not matched the target set.
“This Premium Visa programme does not meet the goals that had been set. Based on the number (of applicants) approved, it does not meet the target. It’s not satisfactory. It needs to be reviewed,” he told members of the media during an interview at his office yesterday.
The minister said there were no plans to scrap the programme for now and wanted to see if he could make improvements to it, adding that cancelling it would be the last resort.
In September, then home minister Hamzah Zainudin was quoted by Bernama as saying the home ministry had received 20,000 applications from agents for the Premium Visa programme, and claimed that it had been a “huge success”.
It was reported that the government had expected to collect some RM206 million after having approved applications from 16 agencies and companies to participate in the programme with an approved quota of 10,300 people.
The programme is meant to attract affluent individuals from all countries, except those without diplomatic ties with Malaysia, who have an offshore income of at least RM40,000 a month.
Applicants were also required to pay a one-time fee of RM200,000 and a one-time fee of RM100,000 per dependent and must have at least RM1 million in their bank account. They may only withdraw 50% of that amount after a year to purchase property or pay for medical and educational expenses.
In a written reply to the Dewan Rakyat on May 24, Saifuddin said the immigration department only received 28 applications for the Premium Visa programme, comprising 14 participants and 14 dependents. Only two have been approved.
Meanwhile, Saifuddin again defended maintaining the tightened conditions for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, saying it had led to better quality applicants in the past year.
He said applications were low right after the conditions were tightened due to Covid-19 restrictions at the global and national level. However, he said, over 800 applicants had already been given pre-approval since then and were likely to be given the final green light.
“The moment we approve, they will go to the bank, open a fixed deposit account and deposit RM1 million in their account. So we will get RM800 million just like that (from the approved applications).”
He said the ministry found that many MM2H applicants were from countries such as Bangladesh prior to the new conditions. Now, he said, the top 10 countries with MM2H applicants were nations such as the United Kingdom, Japan and Singapore.