No respite for property market in 2022 without review on MM2H

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by TMR FILE

THE Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme is expected to impact the property market from 2022 onwards if no review is made on the matter.

Recently, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) noted that the policy for the MM2H programme needs to be customer-friendly and more competitive than those in neighbouring countries.

PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said the criterias for the application need to be flexible and based on a variety of target groups.

He also stressed the need for frequent discussions with all stakeholders before a new policy is finalised.

PropertyGuru country manager Sheldon Fernandez said the tougher entry requirements imposed on the MM2H programme could potentially impact property trends in 2022.

He emphasised that there is an urgent need to revive various programmes like MM2H to boost the property sector.

“This will play a vital role in reviving the industry and addressing several issues such as the large numbers of unsold property in the country,” he said during the Property Market Outlook 2022 webinar earlier this month.

The MM2H programme was suspended pending review in 2019, but was reactivated in October this year.

However, there was outcry and dissatisfaction from several parties over the new conditions, such as an increase in the amount of fixed deposits from RM150,000 for applicants aged 50 and above and RM300,000 for applicants under 50 years old to RM1 million.

Applicants must also have an overseas income of at least RM40,000 per month compared to RM10,000 per month previously.

TEG Media CEO Andy Davison said the new rules have resulted in a much-reduced flow of applicants with detrimental impact on the property market, the economy and the country’s international image.

He hopes that the government would revive the MM2H programme to ensure that the initiative would achieve its original objectives.

“I am cautiously optimistic that with the many knowledgeable people all advising a change to the new rules that the government will make changes.

“How soon that will happen is anyone’s guess because it does not seem to be receiving much focus from the government although we were pleased with the PAC report, which apparently shared our concerns,” he told The Malaysian Reserve via email.

Davison further shared that he saw very little interest in the new MM2H programme when his company advised people about the new rules.

“We have also had some potential business investors turn away when they heard about all the problems with the visa and the treatment of the visa holders.

“It’s particularly unfortunate to see neighboring countries getting the benefit at the expense of Malaysia,” he added.

The PAC had proposed five measures to the government to improve the MM2H programme, such as enhancing the role of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to promote it to reach its initial aim of spurring the economy in tourism subsectors.

It urged the Home Ministry to improve the data storage application system, mainly on the monitoring of participants based on new application and extended application categories, asset ownership and other issues highlighted in the report.

The committee proposed that the Home Ministry coordinate with the Land and Mines Department in all states and keep the record to ensure complete information on the purchase and ownership of property by MM2H participants.