MM2H visa holder stranded abroad and confused

My wife and I are MM2H visa holders for the past 17 years, and we have been stranded in the United Kingdom since mid-March because the movement control order will not allow us to re-enter Malaysia.

FMT was kind enough to highlight our situation in an article on April 23. Then, on April 25, it carried another article on a family in the same situation – stranded away from home.

So we were thrilled when the tourism, arts and culture ministry announced on May 16 that MM2H holders like us could return to Malaysia with effect from May 17. There were three conditions:

  1.  Names and personal details to be registered on a form provided;
  2. A Covid-19 test had to be taken prior to leaving the stranded country. Obviously, the result had to be negative; and
  3. We had to agree to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Malaysia.

All the above requirements are reasonable and we were more than happy to make arrangements to comply.

However, there have been two subsequent statements reported in the media, attributed to Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob on May 20. One said that returning MM2H holders had to sign a letter of undertaking to pay the quarantine costs, and such a letter was to be handled at the Malaysia high commissions or embassies.

The returnees were said to need specific approval to come home – an application had to be made to be checked by the health ministry, the National Security Council (MKN) and the tourism, arts and culture ministry (MOTAC) before approval is given. Being allowed to return is “not automatic”.

So which requirements are the right ones and what is the procedure to get all this done?
My wife and I have just had a Covid-19 test and we are negative. So on the morning of May 21, I went to the Malaysia High Commission in London hoping to sign a guarantee letter and get approval to return. A helpful woman there told me they don’t have any official information of the two aspects of requirements as attributed to Ismail. They know of developments from the media but have had no formal communications from Malaysia. She will let me know when she knows more.

So now, we are stranded and confused. What are the procedures to return? Which ministry is providing the instructions/regulations? Where do we go to get the required approvals? Who knows? I don’t.

To add further confusion, I see that Ismail has issued a further statement on May 22 with some variations on what has been said previously. Online forms are said to be available from the high commissions and embassies, but are they aware ?

This is simple as far as I am concerned. I live in Malaysia. Malaysia is my home. My house and car and all my personal finances and banking are in Malaysia. My friends, too. When will I be allowed to enjoy my life in Malaysia again?

And why is it important to have special approval to return? If I test negative for Covid-19, and already have a resident MM2H visa approved through MOTAC’s established procedures, then what is the problem?

James is an MM2H visa holder and FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

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