Thursday, September 30, 2021

Former minister calls for MM2H to be reinstated under Tourism Ministry

Former minister calls for MM2H to be reinstated under Tourism Ministry

PARLIAMENT | Backbencher Nazri Abdul Aziz (BN-Padang Rengas) has called for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme to be reinstated under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (Motac).

The programme was recently placed under the Home Ministry.

He also expressed objections to the ministry’s move to subject both new and existing MM2H holders to a host of new eligibility terms.

Debating the 12th Malaysian Plan (12MP) today, the former tourism minister said the new arrangement will frustrate the programme.

“I have been made to understand that in the past when Motac had to get immigration approval for applications, (sometimes) immigration would end up rejecting them for no reason.

“If MM2H was placed under the immigration department, I think more applications will be rejected by immigration,” he said.

Nazri (above) contended that MM2H was more suited for Motac as the programme was aimed at attracting foreign retirees to retire and invest in Malaysia.

He opined that MM2H participants were not “security threats” and thus did not need such close scrutiny by the Home Ministry.

He was further concerned that making existing MM2H participants comply with new rules would lead to an exodus, negatively affecting the domestic economy.

“We should invite them and make it easy for them. They contribute RM4 billion to the country per year.

“If the existing (MM2H) holders are not satisfied with the new rules and decide to sell their assets and cash out their deposits, we will lose RM48 billion which they will bring to other countries,” he cautioned.

According to the Home Ministry, there are presently 57,478 MM2H visa holders plus dependents.

“I urge the government to return the MM2H programme under Motac where the Home Ministry will be able to reject applications if there is evidence that they are a threat to us,” Nazri proposed.

Nazri is the latest high-profile individual to speak out against the MM2H revamp.

Hannah Yeoh (DAP-Segambut), the Johor state government, and Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan ─░skandar previously urged for the new rules to be reconsidered.

Last month, the Home Ministry announced significant changes to the MM2H programme effective from October 2021.

To qualify for the programme, the minimum monthly income was raised from RM10,000 to RM40,000. The minimum fixed deposit was raised from RM150,000 to RM1 million.

Previously at RM350,000, the minimum liquidity requirement was changed to RM1.5 million.

Processing fees per applicant was changed to RM5,000 per applicant and RM2,500 per dependent. No such fees were charged previously.

Yearly visa fees, meanwhile, was raised from RM90 to RM500. The duration of an MM2H visa was slashed from 10 years to five years.

At the time, Home Ministry secretary-general Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz explained the revamp was to target “quality participants” and mitigate local “concerns” about foreign citizens.

Since coming under fire over MM2H, Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin has defended the new rules saying they were based on a study by global professional services firm KPMG.

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