Fewer foreigners were interested in the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, amid the imposition of stricter conditions, which includes a fixed deposit (FD) of RM1 million, according to an MM2H programme’s authorised agent.
TEG Media, an MM2H programme’s authorised agent, revealed that only 2% of foreigners who met the programme’s conditions expressed interest since its reintroduction in October 2021, reported The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).
TEG Media CEO Andy Davison said only 20% of the 500 people canvassed by the company for the programme met the pre-conditions. The number declined to just 2% after adjusting for those who are willing to put up the RM1 million FD.
“I have only one client who is willing and able to meet the new terms. The research we recently conducted showed that just over 20% of the people interested in the programme had RM40,000 a month income but nearly all of them were unable or unwilling to pay the RM1 million deposit,” he said as quoted by TMR.
The deposit was previously pegged at RM100,000, but even then participants said it was too much keeping such amount in FD considering that they have acquired houses and cars, said Davison.
“Recently, a person from Hong Kong told me that he had purchased an apartment for RM4.5 million in Penang in 2019 and was planning to apply for the new visa.
“He meets the income requirement but said there is no way he is putting RM1 million on deposit after paying that much especially since interest rates are low and the currency may well depreciate,” he shared.
After being suspended for over a year, the MM2H programme was relaunched with several changes such as the RM1 million Malaysian FD, up from RM150,000 or RM300,000 previously, depending on age.
The new conditions were met with objections from industry players who believe the amount of money required was illogical given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
Davison suggested having separate visas and requirements for those who want to retire in the country, for parents of students and to those looking to have a permanent house so they can vacation in the country. He added that each category will have its own rules and criteria for joining.
“For example, they have said they will apply a 90-day rule to the current visa holders of the national programme (although not yet implemented). One of our clients applied for the visa while he is still working and purchased a holiday home here which he is planning to move into once he retires but he cannot currently meet the 90 days rule (obviously since he is working),” he said.
“The rule makes sense for retirees who relocate here but certainly not for genuine ‘second home’ purchasers who want to come here for vacations.”