Malaysia’s MM2H Program Undergoes Licensing Delays and Concerns Amid Major Revamp

The Tourism, Arts, and Culture Ministry (Motac) is implementing significant changes to the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program to “protect applicants, restore the country’s reputation, and boost international confidence in the initiative.” 

Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing announced that Motac is currently vetting and regulating MM2H agents in detail, requiring all agents to re-register their businesses through official channels and comply with set conditions. 

Vincent Fong, founder of MM2H Club, explains that the government is currently revamping the program and that “during this transitory period, the minister is exercising his authority not to renew any of the existing license holders when the existing license expired.”

The government also revealed that the ministry received numerous complaints from applicants about agents charging exorbitant fees, “tens of thousands of ringgit.”

Tiong emphasized that these exaggerated fees do “not mean that [the applicants’] application is guaranteed to pass. This is because every application has to go through the same process, and approval is only given if it complies with the necessary conditions.”

Investigations also revealed that some agents “leased or rented their licenses to other parties,” including shell companies, without legitimate offices or contact numbers.

“We are taking these steps to protect all parties involved and restore the international community’s confidence in the MM2H program,” Tiong stated. “Agents who fail to meet the new qualifications will not have their licenses renewed.”

Speaking about the new qualification criteria. Fong predicts that “upon the announcement of the new guidelines, many of the existing agents may not qualify to be the agent for the new program, and some of them have already started to look for buyers for their business.”

He says that: “In the future, it may be only a few handfuls of the established agents managing a pool of sub-agents. It is also announced that all sub-agents have to be registered with the ministry under the licensed agent too.”

Tiong emphasized that the renewal of MM2H visas is a separate process from agent license renewals, and holders of expired MM2H passes can continue to renew their visas at Motac’s one-stop center during the transition period. 

He also instructed “the department under Motac to help applicants renew participant passes during this transition period, so there are no problems such as not being able to renew passes and so on.”

The Minister clarified that the government does “not intend to trouble anyone” and aims to protect all parties. He also said the government is wondering “why are there a few agents who refuse to re-register their business license?”

Tiong warned agents against exploiting outdated application forms and deceiving applicants into paying unnecessary fees, urging them to stop such malpractices or face severe consequences.

He claimed that, as far as he knew, “even though the latest rules and standards have not been officially released, there are still a few parties who are still stubborn and use the old application form of the MM2H program to trick applicants into paying fees and submitting applications.” Tiong urged this “irresponsible party, please stop this wrongdoing.”

Fong highlighted that during this period of confusion, he has shifted focus to the PVIP, and that his company has managed to obtain 12 approvals under a program that has only managed to attract a total of 23 successful applicants. 

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The stringent vetting process has led to delays in license renewals for MM2H agents, and many licenses exexpired on March 31 without being renewed. Some stakeholders have expressed concerns about the impact of these delays on their businesses and the overall MM2H program.

Sarawak’s tourism, creative industry, and performing arts minister, Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, appealed to Motac to expedite the vetting and regulation process for MM2H agents in the state. 

“MM2H program agents in the state are unable to renew their business licenses, and this has created a lot of inconveniences,” he said. “Without these licenses, the agents cannot accept applications from interested parties all over the world who wanted to make Sarawak their second home.”

Karim also highlighted the plight of the agents’ staff, who rely on their monthly salary, and the issue of deposits that agents have collected from prospective applicants whose applications the agents cannot process due to the licensing delays. 

“I hope the ministry will look into these issues as soon as possible. We cannot keep them hanging like this,” Karim urged.

Anthony Liew, president of the MM2H Consultants Association, called on the ministry to clarify the new regulations and expedite the license renewal process. 

“While we understand the need for a thorough vetting process, the current delays are causing significant uncertainty for agents and applicants alike,” Liew said.

Fong remarks that the MM2H is now a “waiting game” and that stakeholders are “either waiting for the new guidelines to be officially implemented in West Malaysia or Sabah MM2H, or waiting for the long processing time for Sarawak MM2H.”

However, Tiong maintained that the ministry’s priority is to protect applicants and restore confidence in the program. He urged agents to cooperate with the ministry’s efforts and refrain from politicizing the matter or confusing the public with inaccurate assumptions.

“The Only Fast Option at the Moment Seems To Be a Premium One”

In December 2023, Motac introduced a restructured MM2H program featuring a three-tiered system – Silver, Gold, and Platinum – catering to diverse financial situations. 

The new system lowers the age requirement to 30 and above, with varying fixed deposit requirements: RM5 million for Platinum, RM2 million for Gold, and RM500,000 for Silver. All participants must reside in Malaysia for 60 days annually, regardless of their chosen tier.

The revamped MM2H program will undergo a one-year trial period, during which the government will make adjustments based on evolving circumstances. Tiong called on all stakeholders, including the MM2H Consultants Association, to cooperate with the ministry’s efforts to reform the system, protect the rights and interests of all parties, and enhance the program’s effectiveness.

Fong expects strong demand once the MM2H officially re-opens, due to the fact that “Malaysia has recently implemented visa-free travel for various countries such as India and China; the immigration checkpoints at major airports have implemented tougher measures in trying to catch those who try to make use of tourist visas for an extended stay in Malaysia.”

Fong explains that this situation “has actually increased the demand for MM2H, but the only fast option at the moment seems to be a premium one, taking up PVIP.”

As of January 31, 2024, there are 56,066 active MM2H pass holders, with China holding the highest number at 24,765, followed by Australia (9,265), South Korea (4,940), Japan (4,733), Bangladesh (3,604), and the United Kingdom (2,234).

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Ahmad Abbas AdministratorAuthorSubscriberParticipant
Director of Content Services , Investment Migration Insider

Ahmad Abbas is Director of Content Services at Investment Migration Insider and an 8-year veteran of the investment migration industry.

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