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  • Nicky Gan

MM2H: For Retirement or Investment?

The MM2H programme is often misunderstood as a retirement or investment scheme for foreigners. However, it is actually aimed at promoting Malaysia as an attractive place for potential residents from abroad. Despite various changes to remain as a "renewable multiple-entry social visit pass" for foreigners seeking a longer stay in Malaysia, why does the misunderstanding continues?

Working in Malaysia

The programme was initially promoted to attract retirees to Malaysia with a no-work condition. However, applicants can work outside Malaysia as long as it's not in a Malaysian entity, and applicants aged above 50 are allowed to work part-time (with terms apply). Furthermore, the new Platinum category now allows business, investment, and employment activities in Malaysia, dispelling the retirement programme misconception.

Minimum Age.

Malaysia has consistently been considered the top choice for retirement due to its affordable living costs and low crime rates in South-East Asia. Despite the introduction of the MM2H programme with long-term visas, misconceptions about it being solely a retirement scheme have become more entrenched. Nevertheless, the new 3-tier MM2H and MM2H in SEZ (JB) criteria now allow individuals as young as 20 or 25 to partake in the programme, provided they meet the specific requirements based on their chosen category. This effectively dispels the notion that it is exclusively a retirement initiative.

Property Purchase.

MM2H holders can buy property in Malaysia based on the minimum values set according to the terms and condition of MM2H and the State Authority. This has raised misconception of investment, as it allows applicants to rent out or resell the properties. Nevertheless, the most recent stringent regulation that must be comply by all 3-tier MM2H and MM2H in SEZ (JB) imposed a mandatory 10-year lock-in period for all properties, effectively eliminating property investment as an option. Those who failed to comply this condition will have their MM2H revoked with immediate effect.

Fixed Deposit.

In contrast to the previous MM2H requirements, the new 3-tier MM2H and MM2H in SEZ (JB) demand a substantial sum to be deposited in Malaysian banks as a Fixed Deposit. This shift has led to the MM2H programme being perceived more as an investment opportunity. Nonetheless, half of these funds can be withdrawn after the MM2H visa is approved, allowing for property acquisition in Malaysia, educational pursuits, medical costs, and local travel expenses within Malaysia. This provision effectively dispels the notion that MM2H is solely an investment scheme.

Following extensive explanations and debates, it has become evident that the MM2H program is not designed as a retirement or investment scheme for foreigners. Instead, it caters to individuals seeking an extended stay in Malaysia beyond what is permitted by tourist visas (30 or 90 days) or employment visas like DE Rantau, which allow for a 12-month stay in the country. Therefore, this programme is designed for all foreigners who adore Malaysia as if it were their "second home" and with a plan to stay for an extended period.


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