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  • Writer's pictureChng TG

The New MM2H or S-MM2H?

Updated: Jul 8

This blog is especially relevant for those above 50. For those under 50, you will need to purchase a property in Sarawak before starting the Sarawak MM2H (S-MM2H) application. Now that the dust has settled on MM2H and S-MM2H, let's look at the reality for those interested in staying in Malaysia.

There are two main reasons why foreigners choose the S-MM2H:

  1. Desire to stay in Sarawak: Some have relatives there and want to be close to them. If that’s not the case for you, consider staying in Sarawak for a month first to see if you like it. Life in Sarawak can be quite different from Peninsula Malaysia.

  2. Financial requirements: If you cannot meet the financial criteria for the Peninsula Malaysia MM2H (referred to as MM2H from now on), the S-MM2H might be more feasible.

The Appeal of S-MM2H

The S-MM2H's main draw is its lower financial requirements. Most S-MM2H applicants mainly stay in Peninsula Malaysia after fulfilling the 30-day minimum stay requirement in Sarawak.

Should You Choose MM2H or S-MM2H?

  • If you have the financial means, go for MM2H.

  • If you plan to buy property in the future, it is wise to do it now along with your MM2H application. Demand for properties in key areas might rise as more foreigners move here.

  • There are no property or inheritance taxes in Malaysia. If you buy a property in a good area at a reasonable price, it is likely to maintain its value. Properties in Malaysia are not generally speculative.

  • Everything will become more expensive and challenging in the future (see previous article).

  • If you plan to stay in Malaysia for only a few months a year while do not want to buy property and can wait for a long time for S-MM2H approval, then S-MM2H is an option. However, future MM2H requirements might become tougher if you decide to stay long-term in Peninsula Malaysia.

  • MM2H general terms and conditions are grandfathered as we have done many of its renewals, while S-MM2H is still rather new and tends to change a lot in their general terms and conditions which has made it hard to do their renewal.

Important Notes on S-MM2H

  • In 1963, when Malaya invited Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia, they obtained autonomy in areas including Immigration. Even Peninsula Malaysians receive only a three-month tourist visa for Sarawak.

  • S-MM2H initially had two application methods: (1) showing monthly pension/income (no fixed deposit) or (2) fixed deposit only (no income proof needed). The minimum stay was 15 days.

  • In early 2022, this changed to requiring both fixed deposit and income proof. The deposit-free method was stopped, and the minimum stay increased to 30 days.

  • These changes applied retroactively, affecting those who applied earlier and were still awaiting approval.

  • S-MM2H applicants should be prepared for potential retrospective changes by the Sarawak government.

  • The latest S-MM2H approval letters state that holders are “allowed to travel to West Malaysia except to reside in West Malaysia”. Please read the following CNA article: As West Malaysia woos wealthy foreigners for its MM2H residency visa, Sarawak and Sabah emerge as popular alternatives

  • Even with fewer applications than the old MM2H, S-MM2H processing times can be long, up to 12-18 months.

Buying Property in Malaysia

  • You can get a mortgage.

  • Unlike some countries, you can own property (landed or condo) outright in your name. Freehold properties remain freehold for all buyers, local or foreign.

  • Contracts are in English.

  • You can live in or rent out the property.

With all this in mind, please do your research to determine which type of MM2H is right for you. We are here to assist you every step of the way.


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