Segambut Member of Parliament Hannah Yeoh has urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to urgently review the changes made to the Malaysia My Second Home Programme (MM2H) programme.
The former deputy minister of Women, Family and Community Development said the changes, which are contrary to the original intention of the programme, must be reviewed.
“The Prime Minister must remind his Cabinet to be mindful that Malaysia is competing with other countries in this region to attract foreign investment especially during this challenging period where our economy has been affected severely.
“We cannot be sending the wrong message to the rest of the world during this time.
“These high thresholds must be reversed in the next Cabinet meeting. Fixing something that is not broken is sheer folly and Malaysia cannot afford this now,” she said in a statement today.
On Sept 1, Home Ministry Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin had announced the government’s policy to limit the quota of participants of the MM2H programme to not exceed one per cent of the Malaysian population.
Yeoh said that the new rules have caused great inconvenience to many existing participants of MM2H which include a fixed deposit of at least RM1 million and liquid assets of RM1.5 million compared to RM300,000 – RM500,000 previously.
Participants also needed to have a reported monthly income of at least RM40,000 instead of RM10,000 previously, and a minimum stay of 90 days.
“According to the latest survey published by www.expatgo.com, 79 percent of existing MM2H participants do not meet the new income requirement.
“Of those who do meet the income requirement, 89 percent cannot meet the fixed deposit requirement and 90 percent of participants say their views of Malaysia are now somewhat worse.
“This survey revealed that nearly all the current participants will have to leave Malaysia. The stringent criteria and unattractive requirements will inevitably lead to a mass exodus of MM2H participants,” she said.
Yeoh said a large number of MM2H participants live in the Segambut parliamentary constituency.
She said the changes announced by the Home Ministry will have an adverse impact on the housing market, private education sector, tourism (including medical tourism) and spending patterns in local communities.
“This simply means the changes also significantly affect our local businesses. This unilateral announcement prior to extensive consultation with stakeholders and affected lawmakers magnifies the incompetence of the Perikatan Nasional government,” she said.
The MM2H programme introduced in 2002 offered foreign nationals a 10-year-long visa that was renewable and was meant to entice high-income visitors to stay in Malaysia for a long term.
Long-term MM2H participants, said to number 57,478 people, are said to have invested nearly RM12 billion in the economy since its inception.
They reportedly spend around RM10,000 a month, with many having purchased high-end properties in Johor.
The programme was suspended in August last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.