PETALING JAYA, Sept 30 (Sin Chew Daily) – Due to the ambiguous MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home) rulings that have prompted many existing participants to look elsewhere upon the expiry of their visas, Thailand is expected to be the biggest beneficiary.
The government has earlier announced that the MM2H program will be re-initiated from October 1.
The Malaysia My Second Home Consultants Association (MM2HCA) has recently conduced a survey on 686 MM2H participants to understand their intents on the changes in visa requirements.
Its president Anthony Liew told Sin Chew Daily 55% of the respondents said they had the intention of not renewing their visas upon expiry if the new criteria are not applicable to them. Only a meager 1.7% said they were willing to renew their expired visas while 17.1% would consider doing so upon expiry of their visas.
If the government’s new criteria are too harsh for these MM2H participants, Thailand is set to benefit.
On alternative retirement options, 312 respondents said they would pick Thailand under the country’s retirement non-immigrant long-stay visa program, while 185 would apply for Thailand’s elite visas.
Liew said other than MM2HCA, two other organizations were also conducting similar surveys.
“Among the 925 existing MM2H participants (mostly from Western countries) approached by TEG Media, 79% said they did not meet the RM40,000 monthly income requirement. Only 21% said they did.”
He said about 56% of existing MM2H participants did not meet the new monthly income and fixed deposit requirements, adding that 33% who met the requirements were reluctant to put in more money here while only 11% were willing to do so.
According to Liew, a recent survey conducted by The Japan Club of Kuala Lumpur showed that among the 799 respondents (of whom 594 were existing MM2H participants), 90.9% existing participants did not meet the new RM40,000 offshore monthly income requirement.
“88.4% were not agreeable to the new RM40,000 offshore monthly income requirement, while 68.7% were not happy with the RM1 million FD requirement and 55.1% the requirement for proof of liquid assets.”
Judging from the results of the three surveys, Liew urged the government to provide an explicit answer within the shortest time possible to ensure that the new criteria will not apply to existing MM2H participants.
He said these participants had been drawn by the government’s favorable policy to join the MM2H program and most of them are now used to the life here in Malaysia, not to mention the fact many have purchased properties and are prepared to spend their remaining years here.
He said these people are now actively involved in local community events, citing the example of several MM2H participants he approached in Penang who had answered to the “white flag” pleas and donated generously to people in need.
Many have planned to cancel their visas and not to apply again due to eroded confidence in the government’s policy.
“We have advised them not to do so for the time being because the home minister has said the new criteria will not apply to existing participants. But as this is on a case-to-case basis, some are beginning to feel uneasy.”