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Monday, May 25, 2009

Relaxed rules set to boost Malaysia My Second Home scheme

PETALING JAYA: The Government’s move in February to further liberalise the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme has been well received by foreigners and industry players, especially MM2H licence operators.

Currently, there are about 200 such operators nationwide.

Several amendments to the MM2H criteria were made by the authorities, including the lowering of entry age (below 50) as well as employment opportunities for foreigners in selective industries.

MM2H Agent Association president Kirby Lim said the programme had undergone significant improvement every year since it took over from the Silver Hair scheme, which began in 2002.

“It shows that the Government, particularly the Tourism Ministry, is fully aware of the importance of MM2H as a key driver to economic growth, bringing in billions of ringgit, which is why it (MM2H) has been promoted heavily as a national agenda,” he told StarBiz.

Kirby Lim ... Despite not being well marketed in its early years, MM2H has been fairly successful

Lim said while there might be some “hiccups” along the way, generally, most players or those who benefited from the programme were satisfied with the progress made.

“Of course, more can be done and there will always be issues that need to be ironed out, but we are making good progress and the association is in close contact with top officials from the Government, especially the Tourism Ministry,” he said.

Lim said the association would convey the concerns of the licence operators and MM2H participants to the relevant authorities.

It would also keep them abreast on the effectiveness of the policies in attracting foreigners under MM2H, and the changes needed to improve the logistics and marketing and promotions undertaken currently.

On the success of the MM2H so far, Lim said despite not being well marketed in its early years, the programme had been fairly successful.

“However, the Government has recently been very aggressive in promoting it and under the stewardship of Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen, we believe the programme will gain significant momentum,” he said.

Currently, there are about 12,000 MM2H participants from countries such as China, South Korea, Britain, Bangladesh and certain parts of Europe and the Middle East.

Lim said the Tourism Ministry had recently embarked on a blitz to promote Malaysia, particularly in China and Japan, as a favoured destination to visit as well as to stay and retire (under the MM2H).

“We understand the Tourism Ministry is now looking to promote MM2H in other countries like Canada through exhibitions and other promotional activities,” he said.

Currently, Ng is in Britain to woo more tourists to Malaysian shores. She is targeting at least 10,000 Britons under MM2H. So far, 1,551 Britons have signed up for the programme.

On Malaysia’s advantage in attracting foreigners compared with other countries in the region, Lim said: “We are not trying to be arrogant but Malaysia offers foreigners quite a high standard of living at a relatively low cost, coupled with good infrastructure and a politically stable environment where English is widely spoken.”

Lim said foreigners also had the opportunity to own properties and would not be subjected to real estate property gains tax should they sell their assets.

“Moreover, the Malaysian hospitality is second to none as many foreigners have remarked that the locals are extremely warm and friendly,” he noted.

Lim is optimistic that the number of MM2H applicants will be higher this year.

“This is following the liberalisation of the entry level as well as the strong promotions made by the Tourism Ministry, Immigration and Home Affairs Ministry and other government departments,” he said.

By The Star (by Danny Yap)

1 comment:

Hamster said...

Of great concern to many foreigners is the deep seated hatred towards non Muslims in Malaysia.
The recent Christian church firebombings by Muslim extremist should be a warning sign to any foreigner that it's welcome is tentative.
If you are Muslim, the "My second home" program is something to consider.
If not...go at your own risk
In addition the growing unrest of ethnic Chinese and Indians, who constitute 40 percent of the population but are treated
differently by law from ethnic Malays is a reason for concern.
As long as the government carves out special privileges for Muslim Ethnic Malays I don't see a very bright future for foreigners in Malaysia
Think of a home as a 30 year investment Then ask yourself...when Malaysia gets to the point where it doens't need to rely on investment from "My Second Home" foreigners and a Malay wants the property your house sits on.....what then?? Could the government apply a new law that gives ethnic Malays first rights to property ownership over foreigners??
In 1970 about 150 american retirees bought beachfront property in Baja Mexico and built their dreamhomes. Later the legalclaim to the land they thought they had purchased legally was challenged and they ended up being evicted....they lost expensive lesson.
Compare that to the property laws in the United States where even illegal aliens can own and hold title to property just like US citizens. They may face deportation for their illegal alien status ...but nothing can jeopardize their rights as owners of property in the States. They can hold title, sell or will their property just like anyone else. Title insurance protects them against defective title and US law protects their rights to private property.
Making an investment in a home is a long term move and it would be wise for anyone considering moving to another country just for a lower cost of living to carefully evaluate the stability of the country, the level of corruption, religious and ethnic tolerance, and equal protection under the law.
Any one of those factors could end up costing you your investment