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Govt urged to expand MM2H to include Malaysian emigrants
Published on: Saturday, June 22, 2024
By: FMT, Sean Augustin
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Govt urged to expand MM2H to include Malaysian emigrants
By targeting former Malaysians, the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme can tap into a unique and valuable resource, says Dev Ananth.
PETALING JAYA: The president of an association of Malaysians doing business in New Zealand says Putrajaya should expand its Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme to tap into the knowledge and experience of former citizens in this and their adopted countries.

Dave Ananth, president of the New Zealand Malaysia Business Association, said many ex-Malaysians are now successful professional and businesspeople and have built “fantastic networks” both in Malaysia and their present countries of residence.

“They can serve as ‘free ambassadors’ for both countries and even promote Malaysia’s economic interests abroad,” he told FMT.

Ananth’s suggestion came in the wake of unhappiness over revised guidelines for the MM2H programme.

Under the revamped criteria, foreigners applying under MM2H’s “Silver” plan are required to fork out more than RM1.3 million, by purchasing property worth at least RM600,000 and the placing US$150,000 (about RM710,000) in fixed deposit.

Prior to this, applicants were required to place RM1 million in a fixed deposit.

Ananth said Malaysians who have moved abroad are still keen on business and networking opportunities in Malaysia.

“The potential of ex-Malaysians as a target market for business and investment in Malaysia is immense,” he said.

Ananth urged the government to “think outside the box” by creating a specific category within the MM2H programme. Alternatively, he suggested a parallel initiative to target ex-Malaysians, saying they can serve as “valuable assets in promoting Malaysia’s economic interests abroad”.

He also said they would be more effective in promoting business opportunities in the country compared to the “retired expatriates” which the MM2H programme currently targets.

Ananth said one of the major challenges faced by Malaysian emigrants who wish to engage in business activities in this country is the absence of a suitable category to house them.

Currently, many of them visit Malaysia on tourist visas, which restricts their ability to conduct business effectively, he said.

“The bureaucratic and regulatory hurdles make it difficult for them to establish a business presence in Malaysia, leading to missed opportunities for both the individual and the country.

“The fact is, they all speak Malay and understand business and cultural sensitivities. It doesn’t make sense when you don’t tap into this. It’s free,” he added.

Ananth suggested that the new category offer more flexible visa terms, reduced bureaucratic hurdles and specific incentives, such as simplified registration processes and tax breaks.

Malaysia could also establish networking platforms and business forums specifically for ex-Malaysians, facilitating easier connections between these individuals and local businesses.

Such an initiative would not only encourage investment but also foster innovation and collaboration that would drive economic growth, he said.

“By focusing on former Malaysians, the country can differentiate itself and tap into a unique and valuable resource,” Ananth added.

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