PETALING JAYA: There has been encouraging response to Sarawak’s own Malaysia My Second Home programme, with many applicants drawn by the more attractive conditions imposed, says a state minister.
Sarawak tourism, creative industry and performing arts minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said there has been an increase in applications “probably because our conditions are more attractive (compared to Putrajaya’s MM2H)”.
The MM2H programme is for well-to-do foreigners seeking a retirement home.
Sarawak imposes fewer restrictive financial requirements than the federal scheme.
Applicants for long-term residence in Sarawak are required to place a fixed deposit of RM150,000 (RM300,000 for couples) and possess a monthly offshore income of RM7,000 (RM10,000 for couples).
The federal government’s requirements are that applicants must have assets of RM1.5 million, a monthly offshore income of RM40,000, and a RM1 million fixed deposit. Each applicant also has to pay a one-off RM50,000 fee for each dependent if the principal is aged 35 to 49 years,
Sarawak, which enjoys a level of autonomy over immigration, introduced its version of the MM2H programme in 2007 and did not adopt the new criteria set by Putrajaya in 2021.
“We are comfortable with our current criteria, which still continue to attract applicants,” Karim said.
Since 2007, Sarawak has approved a total of 2,093 applicants. Last year, it approved 411 applications, a 1,422% increase compared to the year before. For the first eight months of 2023, it approved 406 applications.
Karim said the Sarawak government viewed the MM2H programme as being beneficial to the state and this was why it felt its criteria should be dynamic.
MM2H Agents Association president Anthony Liew said applicants for Sarawak’s MM2H programme were mostly retirees drawn to the state’s low cost of living, a slower pace of life, and its picturesque landscapes.
He also said there were people who opted to apply for Sarawak’s MM2H programme as they disagreed with the conditions set for the federal programme.
However, he said, there was room for improvement, particularly the lengthy application process which can take up to six months.
“If they get approved fast, they will still have the urge to come to Malaysia. After a wait of six or eight months, they may already be looking at similar programmes in another country,” he said.