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DCM glad MM2H is not suspended here
Published on: Sunday, December 30, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) is a significant programme from the socio-economic and property market perspectives, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew."I am glad that the scheme is still on at least in Sabah. It is significant in the sense that it paves the way for potential foreign investors to come to the State.

"When they bring in money and buy houses, they are spurring the growth of the property segment. They are essentially making capital expenditure and bringing additional funds into the State, which is good for the economy.

"When they live and spend their money here, they are contributing to domestic consumer spending. Perhaps, we should step up efforts to promote MM2H," she said during a courtesy call by a delegation from Leisure Avenue (MM2H) Sdn Bhd led by its Managing Director Anthony Chong.

MM2H programme is promoted by the Government to attract and allow foreigners/retirees who fulfil the requirements to stay in the country as their second home. The MM2H Visa will be granted for a period of 10 years and is renewable. In other words, this MM2H Visa is a 10-year multiple-entry Social Visit Pass and renewable every 10 years.

Liew, who is Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, was commenting on media reports that the Federal Government has suspended the scheme in West Malaysia.

Briefing the Minister on the current status of MM2H, Chong said the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) has stopped processing applications from interested parties intending to make West Malaysia their second home.

"However, MM2H Sabah is not adversely affected for now," he said in response to public queries.

At this juncture, he raised concern over peninsula agents' attempts to come to Sabah for their MM2H business operation in the wake of the suspension.

"I think this is not so fair to registered agents in Sabah as we are not allowed to go to West Malaysia to operate our business.

How best can we resolve this issue?" he asked while lamenting that the scheme was not being promoted the way it should be. Which explains why Leisure Avenue, the official sponsor for MM2H in Sabah, among other authorised agents, receives only about 10 to 15 applications a year.

According to Chong, Malaysia is the preferred destination for Chinese nationals under the MM2H programme.

"Simply, Malaysian fruits (durian, rambutan, mangosteen) are excellent and cheap. The weather is nice.

Culturally, we are very close to China as we speak the same language.

The good news is that this scheme is expected to accelerate next year, given the predictable influx of Chinese tourists," he told Liew, adding that previously, some holiday-makers from China reportedly fell in love with Sabah and decided to apply for MM2H.

Chong said Australians had also purchased property in Kota Kinabalu but of late, they had applied for repatriation to their country of origin in view of the high cost of living here, coupled with security

concerns.

"We (Leisure Avenue) are officially appointed as an agent for MM2H by Motac. For each applicant, we have to sign a bond and be his or her official sponsor insofar as the applicant remains a participant in the MM2H Programme.

"Over the last 13 years, only three applications were rejected by Motac. The rest were approved. As far back as 2007, five years after MM2H was launched, we had successful applications from Taiwan, Bangladesh, Australia and Europe. But since two years ago, our applicants are mainly from Taiwan, China and Hong Kong.

"Chinese nationals dominated the market. They buy property valued at RM1 million and above, thus supporting our local building industry.

They bring their children over here to study in Form Four, Five and Six in approved education institutions (examples, SM Tshung Tsin and Kian Kok Middle School)," Chong shared.

"While the children are here for three years, at least one parent is required to be here for 18 months. Therefore, MM2H becomes useful to them. On completion of Form Six, the children return to China for their university entrance examination using 50 credit points. This is the current trend as going back to China has more prospects education wise than when pursuing higher education in Australia or UK."

He added: "MM2H is boosting the local economy in terms of financial requirements whereby a successful applicant (above 50) has to put a sum of RM150,000 in the MM2H Fixed Deposit Account upon approval. And for a fixed deposit account of RM300,000, the participant (below 50) is allowed to withdraw RM150,000 after a period of one year for house purchase, children's education in Malaysia and medical purposes."

MM2H started in 1999 as the silver-haired programme for senior citizens (aged 50 and above), aimed at drawing them to live long-term in Sabah provided they meet the financial requirements (a monthly household income, from outside Malaysia, of at least RM10,000, a fixed deposit placement in the MM2H account, etc).

Describing MM2H as a small industry, Chong said for 16 years since 2002 until today, there have only been 38,000 approved applicants from all over the world. "Last year's business operation was more aggressive. Together with this year, we recorded some 12,000 approved applicants for the whole of Malaysia."

Quoting statistics, he said up to November 2017, the approved limit for property purchase in Sabah was half a million ringgit, adding "from November 2017 onwards, the value has gone up to RM1 million. It's good for our local property development sector."

Meanwhile, Chairman cum Director of Leisure Avenue, Datuk Suzannah Liaw, said she has taken the initiative to promote MM2H to the Chinese Consulate in Kota Kinabalu.

Also present were the Ministry's Principal Assistant Secretary Mary Malangking, Sabah Tourism Board General Manager Suzaini Datuk Sabdin Ghani and Leisure Avenue Manager Ivy Tan.



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