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Tiong’s claims baseless: Liew. Sabah to proceed on MM2H just like Sarawak
Published on: Tuesday, June 11, 2024
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Tiong’s claims baseless: Liew. Sabah to proceed on MM2H just like Sarawak
Liew at one of the meetings.
Kota Kinabalu: State Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew on Monday denied claims by Federal Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing that she did not attended meetings to discuss the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) issue.

She said records would show that she personally attended the meeting chaired by the Federal Minister in Putrajaya on May 11, 2023.

“On occasions when I was not available, I sent representatives. On Nov. 6, 2023, my Deputy Permanent Secretary I and a Sabah Tourism Board (STB) Senior Research Officer attended the second meeting. 

“Similarly, the Deputy Permanent Secretary I and the Principal Assistant Secretary from KePKAS attended the third meeting on November 14, 2023.

“And on Dec. 19, 2023, the then Sabah Permanent Secretary attended the fourth meeting. The Deputy Permanent Secretary I, the Principal Assistant Secretary and STB Senior Research Officer attended the fifth meeting on Jan. 16 this year,” Liew said in a statement, Monday.

She said out of the five meetings, Tiong chaired only three with the other two chaired by Motac Sec-Gen and Deputy Minister, respectively.

“According to my Ministry’s reports, none of the five meetings ever discussed the MM2H programme. 

“We (KePKAS) were never invited for any meeting to specifically discuss the programme,” she said.

On the Sabah-Malaysia My Second Home (S-MM2H) programme, Liew said it was approved by the Sabah State Cabinet in 2023 and efforts were continued to refine all the criteria until May 2024.

“KePKAS was entrusted with the responsibility of formulating and implementing the programme. Since then, we have been working on the terms and conditions for participation in the programme.

“For each of our meetings in Sabah with regard to S-MM2H, my Ministry invited the Motac Sabah Office, the State Immigration Department, police and Internal Affairs Office (under the Chief Minister’s Department) to attend.

“We were prepared to launch the programme on June 1, 2024. However, to our dismay and shock, Motac suspended the operations of all licensed agents in processing new applications, with immediate effect.

“Motac issued a directive dated May 27, 2024 to all licensed agents handling the MM2H applications, including those in Sabah and Sarawak, to cease operations,” explained Liew.

She said Motac’s arbitrary decision caught many stakeholders by surprise, particularly agents, purchasers and potential investors, as well as the State Cabinet.

“Furthermore, Motac never discussed their decision with the State Government,” she stressed.

 “In view of this, my Ministry wrote to Motac on May 28, 2024 to appeal the decision to suspend the operations of licensed agents, especially the Sabah agents, some of whom still hold valid licences approved and issued by Motac.

“We had also stated in our letter to Motac that failing which, my Ministry will appoint and authorise state representatives to process the applications of potential applicants for the S-MM2H programme.”

On May 31, Motac informed KePKAS that no one is allowed to process new applications for the S-MM2H programme until further notice by Motac, said Liew.

She reiterated that Sabah would proceed with its own S-MM2H programme as Sabah and Sarawak have a different policy and should not be lumped with the programme for Peninsular Malaysia.

“We concur with Sarawak’s Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah that Sabah and Sarawak have our own conditions for our programme.

“Therefore, we (Sabah) will proceed accordingly,” added Liew. 

Karim had said Motac should not have imposed the policy on Sarawak and Sabah as these two states have different conditions than those in peninsular Malaysia.

“In Sarawak, for example, every applicant for the Sarawak-MM2H programme is only required to place RM150,000 as a fixed deposit in the bank, while in peninsular Malaysia, it is RM1 million,” he said.

“That is why the applications for Sarawak-MM2H programme have jumped by over 90 per cent while in the peninsula, it has declined by 90 per cent, and it is their mistake, not ours,” he added.

He said if the reason for the poor response to the MM2H programme in the peninsula for not extending or giving permits to agencies operating the programme or Motac is still thinking of coming out with a new policy, then it should not be applicable to Sarawak and Sabah.

Karim criticised Tiong for not discussing the matter with the two Borneo states.

“It is not just Motac that has all the power, talking about this and that, expecting us to follow.

“I am very disappointed with Motac. It is shameful since the minister is from Sarawak,” he said.

Karim reminded Tiong that both Sarawak and Sabah have rights as far as tourism is concerned.

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