Selangor rep Rajiv: Malaysia losing out with MM2H freeze

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Govt urged to unfreeze MM2H programme quickly instead of sitting back and waiting for something to happen.

The government’s indecision over the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme has led to many businesses winding up, said Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran while urging Putrajaya to unfreeze the programme.

He urged the government to unfreeze the MM2H programme as soon as possible and to act quickly in this time of crisis instead of sitting back and waiting for something to happen.

“On November 2, the tourism, arts and culture minister had announced that the programme will not be cancelled but was frozen temporarily to avoid disappointing applicants while renewing and devising conditions in the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

Najjua Zulkefli/TMI

“However, this process of revaluation has now gone on for about four months since August with no standing from the ministry.

“Their inability to make a decision has hit existing business and limited the spurring of the economy during this difficult time.”.

He said about one-third of MM2H consultants and agents will likely close shop within three months as they are unable to last any longer than that.

The DAP man also debunked tourism minister Nancy Shukri’s argument that the programme was frozen to ensure there was no Covid-19 threat to the country.

He said that successful applicants would have to undergo the same processes, including 10-14 days quarantine and complying with SOPs as any Malaysian returning from overseas.

“Being long-term residents of the country, their risk of contributing to the increase in numbers is almost equivalent to existing residents in Malaysia,” he said.

Rajiv added that the Covid-19 reasoning does not add up as records have shown that the applications and approvals have been put on hold since the end of 2019 which is before the onset of the pandemic.

“Representatives of the Malaysian My Second Home Consultants Association (MM2HCA) say 90% of the applications they submitted between September and November 2019 were rejected without any reasons or justifications.

“That pre-2019 rejection rate had hovered around 10%,” he said.

“So why is the government freezing one of the world’s most successful and largest investment migration programmes?”

Since its inception in 2002 to 2019, the programme has brought in RM40 billion to the economy, he said, adding that freezing the programme was almost like killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

He said lifting the freeze will help the rental and property market as the programme involves high-net-worth individuals seeking a retirement home or a place to start afresh.

He added this will help spur the property market, which has already taken a significant hit due to the pandemic, and address the issue of property overhang.

Apart from the property market, the overall economy stands to gain from the influx of foreign currency that comes with the migration of rich expatriates from around the world.

The MM2H Consultants’ Association, which polled 108 consulting companies recently, found 31.5% of respondents indicating that they cannot last longer than three months if the government’s suspension of the programme drags on.

Of those surveyed, 26.9% said they have no cash reserves, while 23.1% are unsure how long existing reserves can last. Only 12% said they can probably survive a further four to six months.

In terms of confidence in their business survival, 34.3% expressed defeat, the rest did not feel optimistic, and only 13% said they have a little hope.

There is no clear indication in sight whether the government will revive the programme, which is also to some extent reliant on the reopening of Malaysia’s borders to tourists.

Applicants for the programme have to be physically present in Malaysia to begin the process. – TMI