Malaysia’s PViP Flounders, Attracting Only 23 Main Applicants

According to Tiong King Sing, Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism, Art, and Culture, the Premium Visa Program (PViP) has signed up 47 people—23 principal applicants and 24 of their dependents.

Taiwanese nationals made up the majority of holders, accounting for 23 in total, followed by holders from China (12), South Africa (3), the Netherlands (2), Germany (2), the US (2), Japan (1), Turkey (1), and Bangladesh (1).

The Ismail Sabri Yaakob administration launched the PViP with high expectations in 2022, even going as far as setting an application cap of 1% of all Malaysians (about 300,000).

The Malaysian government targeted 20,000 applications for the PViP's first phase. Ismail Sabri's government set a MYR206 million (approximately US$43.5 million) FDI goal for the PViP.

Under the PViP, each principal applicant must pay MYR200,000 for himself, MYR100,000 for each additional dependent, and an annual fee of MYR2,000. 

Calculating the FDI for 23 principal applicants and 24 dependents brings the total to about MYR7 million (approximately US$1.5 million), less than 3.5% of the government's target. 

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Tiong's announcement revealed the stark contrast between the government's high expectations and the reality of demand for the PViP.

While the low application volume may not surprise many industry experts, who had expressed their skepticism regarding the program's viability early on, it proves a far cry from the Malaysian government's initial excitement and, indeed, a remarkable claim that did not age well.

Fewer than 24 hours after the Malaysian government launched the PViP, a slew of private Malaysian newspapers - and official state media - reported that Malaysia's Ministry of Home Affairs received a remarkable 20,000 applications in one day.

The claim was highly questionable then, especially considering that the PViP was not officially open to applications at the time of the report. Tiong's recent announcement, as well as the government's official media site removing the report from its site, highlight the massive divide between the government's initial excitement and the reality of the PViP.

Last year, Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail announced that the government planned to review the PViP if it "does not meet the goals set."  He clarified that if application numbers do not meet the target, the program is "not satisfactory" and "needs to be reviewed."

The possibility of a review or even a complete overhaul is especially likely considering that the PViP's rival program, the MM2H, which is also in line for a makeover, boasts over 55,000 active visa holders. 

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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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