MM2H programme receives 7,904 applications in 2019, says Motac

Motac is still reviewing some of its policies to attract more applicants in the future

by HARIZAH KAMEL/ pic by TMR FILE

THE country received some 7,904 applications for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme in 2019, the highest ever achieved since 2012, according to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac).

Its deputy secretary general Mohd Zamri Mat Zain said Chinese nationals command to dominant participation in the programme accounting for more than 35% of total numbers of approved applicants.

“The success of this programme, however, is not without challenges, especially in terms of getting the quality candidates into the programme that have to evolve with trends and preferences of its market,” he said at the MM2H meet and greet event in Kuala Lumpur (KL) yesterday.

The remainder of the top 10 participations in 2019 are from South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Bangladesh, the UK, Singapore, the US, Taiwan and India.

The MM2H programme is among the popular residence programmes and has approved more than 48,000 participants to date.

Mohd Zamri said the government has to study and develop pull factors to attract future potential markets because different nationalities have different preferences.

MM2H director Datin Sharifah Ikhlas Syed Ismail AlJaffree said Motac is still reviewing some of its policies to attract more applicants in the future.

“It is ongoing. We are definitely looking at the engagement criteria that we have to do because it is very competitive.

“Now, when you look at this industry alone, there are 100 countries offering similar programmes with MM2H. In order for us to be competitive, we must know what the other countries are doing,” she said.

She said there have been changes in the MM2H incentives in the past that need to be reviewed again.

“We used to have tax exemption on cars until 2017, but they can also purchase or import cars. Besides that, the visa that we give to them is renewable after 10 years.

“Apart from spouses, they can also bring their parents, in-laws and children here. We also allow them to invest and do business whereby they do not play a main role as we do not allow them to seek employment here,” she added.

The majority of MM2H applicants are living in KL, Penang, Johor and Melaka, with Penang having more UK applicants than anywhere else.

Americans, Koreans and Singaporeans are in Johor, while the rest are scattered in KL and Selangor.

The MM2H programme made it easier for its applicants to live in Malaysia, as was the case with husband and wife, Graham and Jill Brown, both from the UK.

“We moved to Malaysia in 2009 and we never had any regrets at all,” said Graham.

One of the advantages of MM2H is that it gives foreigners access to property at a lower value. But not all states implement it, such as Negri Sembilan where the Browns are living.

“The problem is, they made it RM1 million strata title for foreigners, but there are no RM1 million strata properties in Negri Sembilan.

“We have a huge 15,000 sq ft property in Port Dickson, but 10 years ago when we came, we were still young to maintain it, now that we’re older, we want to scale down to a smaller property, but we can’t buy property in Negri Sembilan, because they made it impossible for foreigners to buy,” said the Browns.

Graham said other states like Perak and Sarawak made the sensible rule by offering RM350,000 and RM300,000 respectively for the minimum threshold for foreign residential property purchase under MM2H.

The Browns have invested at least RM1 million in renovations, staff, services and purchases in their property.

“There are thousands of foreigners who would invest in the area. We buy less than a quarter of 1% because foreigners don’t buy that many properties,” added Graham.