MM2H Deadlock or Dead End?

“The new MM2H scheme is not practical and is the most expensive “Multi-entry Visa” scheme in the world.”

Asian Property Review gets some industry views on the controversial new criteria for the long-stay scheme for foreigners.

KL See
Executive Director, Metro Homes Realty Berhad
The current Federal government won’t resolve the issue by overturning its own decision, hence it’s likely the MM2H scheme under its administration would be a failure. This is because the new MM2H scheme is not practical and is the most expensive “Multi-entry Visa” scheme in the world. MM2H is not a migration program which offers permanent residence status or citizenship in Malaysia; it’s only a social entry visa.
The best solution is to have other multiple programs such as: (i). Golden Years program that offers a 20-year stay for retirees; (ii) Entrepreneur program for the young businessman; and (iii) students’ family program for the parents and relatives of foreign students.
For Sabah and Sarawak, they continue with their own version of the MM2H Programme. Penang and Johor which need foreigners would get their own modified version of the MM2H programme. The result: Malaysia would be even more divided because of the above policy.

Brian Koh
Executive Director (Investment), Nawawi Tie Leung Real Estate Consultants Sdn Bhd
The government has exempted existing MM2H participants from having to fulfil the new criteria (except for two). This is the right thing to do but good luck to attracting new applicants! Stakeholders should always be consulted before major policy changes. We keep on shooting our own legs and create unnecessary bad publicity.

Dato’ Joseph Lim
Founder, Insight Think Tank Sdn Bhd
Remove the new conditions completely and carry on applying what we have for the next 2-3 years. This would help the Malaysian property industry as well. When the economy has recovered, then if the government wants to enhance the regulations, it would be better received. But now, with such high tension due to the pandemic, these new criteria won’t really help.

Michael Tan
Property Investor & Speaker; Entrepreneur
The best solution is to revert to the old MM2H. We should encourage more foreigners to take up residence here as their second home during our recovery period. With the higher financial requirements, we are not going to get the people who want to leave their countries. We are also in competition with neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Indonesia.
The drastically more stringent requirements will also deter foreign investors and the international business community from coming here as Malaysia is viewed as being unfriendly to foreigners. As an export-driven country, this would impact our trade and investment with other countries.
Johor state will be very adversely impacted because many of the high-end projects there are targeted at foreign buyers and are packaged with MM2H programme.

Agnes Wong
Managing Partner, Syarikat Ong Group
MM2H is very politically linked as far as Peninsular Malaysia is concerned. It also looks like the government may want to introduce another long-stay visa i.e. business visa. I personally don’t think the business visa would achieve as much or be as successful as the MM2H. This is because Malaysia needs to first convince the international community that it is one of the most investment-friendly destinations in the region and is politically stable.
MM2H is more about staying long-term in a highly liveable place which is very different from a country benchmarking itself as a business-friendly destination in competition with the rest of the world. It is easier to position the country as one of the most liveable places in the world.
Furthermore, MM2H is a better solution to bring in certain groups of quality migrants into our country to help in our domestic consumption. We need more domestic consumption in order for local businesses to survive during our recovery stage.
Unless each state in West Malaysia can stipulate its own regulations to a certain extent, the Federal rules may override states’ rules. East Malaysia however has full power to set its own criteria for MM2H. Hence, there may be a shift of applicants to East Malaysia.

Koong Lin Loong
Honorary Treasurer General, Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM)
There should be proper engagement with industry players so that the programme can be effective. MM2H can’t be a standalone policy but must work hand in hand with other ministries to attract FDI’s. Hence, have to work with MIDA and other relevant departments. We have to work towards post-pandemic recovery where we need FDI’s. When foreign companies come, they will have quality personnel stationed here who may want to participate in MM2H for convenience and for a longer stay. So, the criteria can’t be too stringent as we don’t want to give the impression that they are not welcome.
We also need to compare with our neighbours like Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia. One option is to approve based on the needs of particular industries. But we don’t want to attract too many low level workers; we should prioritise quality over quantity.

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