In a surprise announcement today, Malaysia’s Home Ministry Secretary-General has announced the country’s long-suspended Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program has been “reactivated” and that it will open for new applications from October.
According to The Star, the reopening was a result of cabinet decisions made July 14th and 30th, respectively, “as part of a strategy under the National Economic Recovery to boost the economy.” The program has been suspended officially since July 2020 (and unofficially since November 2019), a period the Secretary-General said had enabled the Home Ministry and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture to “review and re-evaluate” the program.
Some program observers have contended that it was the two departments’ competing for control of the program that gave rise to the suspension in the first place. If that was indeed the case, the Home Ministry appears to have gained the upper hand in the end:
“[the program] will be overseen by the Immigration Department,” said the Home Ministry’s Secretary-General today.
Citing popular concern over the entry of a large number of foreigners under the program’s auspices, the Secretary-General said the government had agreed to place a cap on the number of participants (counting both main applicants and dependents) that would ensure their numbers would at no point exceed 1% of the number of Malaysian citizens. While IMI has been unable to learn precisely how many citizens Malaysia has, the country has some 32 million inhabitants. Using population figures as a proxy for citizens, this would imply that Malaysia is prepared to make room for about 320,000 MM2H participants.
Between 2002 – when the program first opened – and 2020, Malaysia approved more than 57,000 main applicants and an undisclosed number of dependents. Presuming an average family size of three family members, the MM2H will have filled close to half the new quota already. Some attrition, however, will have taken place in the last 20 years as a consequence of applicants deciding not to renew or passing away.
According to the same newspaper, the government will be introducing nine new requirements, which reportedly include:
- Participants must physically be present in the country for at least 90 days a year;
- Participants must have an offshore income of no less than MYR 40,000 (US$9,434) per month (up from MYR 10,000 previously);
- Participants must maintain a fixed deposit account in Malaysia with a balance of MYR 1 million (US$236,000), up from the previous MYR 150,000/300,000, from which they may withdraw no more than half during their stay, and only for purposes of paying for real estate acquisitions, health expenditures, and their children’s education.
- Applicants must also demonstrate they own liquid assets of at least MYR 1.5 million (up from MYR 300,000/500,000).
The Secretary-General, according to Malay Mail, said the new policies would apply to all future applications, as well as for extensions of existing visas.
“This means existing participants, if they are still keen on joining the program, can seek extensions subject to the new conditions. […]A grace period of a year will be given so that participants can fulfill the new requirements,” he said.
Questioned as to whether applicants holding nationalities currently barred from entering the country under pandemic restrictions would be permitted to enter Malaysia, the Secretary-General pointed out that the ban remained effective.
The entry bans currently apply to nationals from the United States, Brazil, India, Russia, Peru, Colombia, South Africa, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Iran, the United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, France, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Iraq, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
More on the MM2H story:
- 22 Months After Freezing MM2H, Malaysia Govt. Offers Relief Grant to Agents: A $711 One-Time Payment
- After 21 Months, No End in Sight for MM2H Suspension – Political Turf War to Blame, Say Insiders
- More Than 100 MM2H Agents Face Closure Over Moratorium – Price Hike Likely
- Long-Term MM2H Agents Question Program’s Future, Ask If Erratic Govt. Action is Deliberate
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.