by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by TMR FILE
HOME Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin (picture) said his ministry will review the applicants for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) on a case-by-case basis, amid calls from various quarters for the government to review its new stringent rules.
Hamzah said the reason for the applications review is to keep the percentage of foreigners who are living in the country through the programme at 1% of the Malaysian population.
“It is a process that is being done by my party. We will review the applicants on a case-by-case basis. We want applicants who can contribute to our country and those who want to truly make Malaysia their second home.
“However, there will be an exception for senior citizens who have been living here for the past 15 years, for example, and want to continue living in this country,” he said at a press conference yesterday.
He added that as of July 31, a total of 57,478 foreigners hold MM2H passes, of which 28,249 are principals with 28,229 dependents.
Since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented last year until Aug 31, the Immigration Department received 13,873 applications for the MM2H programme with 4,714 of them approved.
Hamzah also revealed that more than 8,000 MM2H participants have been found residing outside of Malaysia despite having the pass.
“We have found that the applicants only come to Malaysia for a short period to register their application and whenever they want to renew their passes.
“Our officers will determine the status of these participants and their intention in participating in the programme.”
The Malaysian Reserve previously reported that the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the government to immediately suspend the new MM2H rules or risk having capital outflow.
On Monday, Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar expressed similar sentiment, saying that the rules are too restrictive and that will drive foreigners’ interests away.
“This means massive revenue loss for Malaysia,” Sultan Ibrahim said on his official Facebook page.
The MM2H programme, first introduced in 2002, allows foreigners to purchase property and reside in Malaysia on a long-term basis.
It was temporarily frozen in August 2020 for a review by the Home Ministry and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac).
Home Ministry secretary general Datuk Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz recently said new applicants must reside in Malaysia for a cumulative of at least 90 days in a year.
“Participants must have an offshore income of at least RM40,000 a month compared to RM10,000 previously,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hamzah said a bipartisan cooperation between the government and the Opposition will be the new political landscape for Malaysia in order to prioritise the needs of the people.
The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia secretary general said an establishment of a confidence and supply agreement (CSA) would ensure a stable political landscape for the country and would enhance the joint statement signed recently by the three leaders of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.
“The CSA was initially announced by former Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and it is a good accord where it could help stabilise the political development in the country.
“We do not want another disarray because it would disrupt the initiatives and programmes that we have developed and implemented to stabilise the economy of the country and the people.
“PM Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the agreement signed by the three parties of the Opposition and this could be the way forward for our political landscape. Now, the focus should be on the benefit of the people and all leaders could see eye to eye on the country’s development, especially in the economic sector,” Hamzah said.
Days after the appointment of Ismail Sabri as the PM, he had made a political agreement with PH leaders — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Mohamad Sabu and Lim Guan Eng — prioritising independence of the judiciary, institutional reforms and good governance.
A CSA is an agreement between political parties where the minority party agrees to support the government on its motions as well as budget and confidence votes through either voting in favour or abstaining from voting.
The Dewan Rakyat is set to reconvene on Sept 13, a week later than its original schedule as Ismail Sabri is currently under quarantine.