Malaysia is known for its thriving economy and its affordable high-quality standard of living. The country also offers a tropical climate, islands and beaches, historical places, advanced health care and education, and a multicultural community – all the elements that make it an attractive investment for foreigners.
The Malaysia My Second Home Programme was originally introduced in 2002 and allowed foreign investors to purchase property and reside in Malaysia on a long-term basis. It was temporarily suspended in August 2020 to enable the Home Ministry and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture to review the programme.
Earlier this month the Malaysian Home Ministry’s secretary-general, Datuk Wan Ahmad Dahlan bin Haji Abdul Aziz, announced that the programme would be reactivated with several changes made to the policy.
What are the New MM2H Programme Amendments?
The Malaysian Government will be introducing a range of new amendments:
- The programme is now open to two categories of applicants, those between 35 and 49 years old, and 50 years old and above. The 35 – 49-year-old category was introduced to ensure applications are only received from those who have careers and are more financially stable.
- Applicants must demonstrate they own liquid assets of at least RM 1.5 million (circa US$355,000), a substantial hike from the previous range of RM 300,000 – 500,000.
- Applicants must be present in the country for at least 90 days in a year. Previously, there was no minimum stay requirement.
- Applicants must have an offshore income of no less than RM 40,000 (circa US$9,434) per month, a four-fold increase over the previous RM 10,000.
- Applicants must hold a fixed deposit account in Malaysia with a balance of MYR 1 million (circa US$236,000), up from the previous RM 150,000 for applicants above 50 years old and RM 300,000 for those 50 years old and below. Applicants will be permitted to withdraw no more than half of this amount during their stay, and for the specified purposes of funding real estate acquisitions, health expenditures, and their children’s education.
- The duration of the MM2H Programme long-term social visit pass has been set to five years and can be extended for another five years, subject to compliance with the application conditions. Previously the duration was 10 years.
- The rate of the ‘pass’ fee was increased to RM 500 a year from RM 90 previously. A RM 5,000 processing fee will also be charged for the main applicant and RM 2,500 for each dependant. No processing fee was previously levied.
- The Malaysian government has also agreed to set a limit on the number of participants, requiring that the number of main applicants and dependants at one time cannot be more than one per cent of the number of Malaysian citizens.
“The new income conditions are more relevant as the government is targeting high-income participants with adequate capabilities. We also consider the expenses spent on children’s education in international schools for instance, and a suitable lifestyle matching their living standards,” said the secretary-general.
How will the Changes Impact Applicants?
The MM2H was an attractive programme for foreign retirees due to the low cost of living in Malaysia compared other developed countries. The revised MM2H requirements have attracted criticism for being unduly strict and naysayers argue that Malaysia is at risk of losing applicants to competing programmes in other Asian countries.
The new MM2H policies apply to all new applications and the extension applications of existing applicants whose passes have ended or will end. Existing applicants can seek extensions subject to the new conditions should they wish to continue with the programme and will be given a grace period of a year to fulfil the new requirements.
New applications can be submitted online from the beginning of October 2021, and the process will be overseen by the country’s Immigration Department.