KUCHING: There will be no new applications for the Malaysia My Second Home Programme (MM2H) as it is being reviewed in an effort to upgrade it.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the review was aimed at improving the programme and its processes.
The review was expected to be completed by year-end, she added.
“During the movement control order (MCO) period, we discovered that there is a lot we can do to improve MM2H.
“The government is using this opportunity to look into its activities and also the process involved in the approval,” she told reporters after visiting a songket gallery here yesterday.
She said the Immigration Department was taking another look at the approval process while her ministry was conducting a study into the programme.
“Our side is involved in a lab, giving some comments on how to improve the process. We’re targeting to get everything done by December.
“It’s not a permanent closure because the programme contributes to our economy,” she said in response to reports that the MM2H office at her ministry had been shuttered recently.
“It should resume by next year. We can’t afford to leave it frozen for a long time as it involves money for the country.”
At a press conference by the Malaysian My Second Home Consultants Association (MM2HCA), a group that represents MM2H agents in Malaysia, its officials claimed that more than 90% of MM2H applications from September to November last year were rejected with no reasons given.
MM2HCA said their members had received many rejection letters from the Immigration Department recently, where it said a review committee dated April 27 this year declined the applications for MM2H social visit passes.
MM2HCA president Lim Kok Sai said MM2H consultants would take months to handle these applications and they would promote the programme overseas, spending a lot of time and money on it.
MM2HCA, which represents 250 member companies around the country, said its members were shocked at the number of rejections.
“There were no reasons attached for the rejections and they are not allowed to appeal the decisions,” Lim said, adding that the review committee consisted of representatives from the Tourism Ministry, the Home Ministry and other government departments.
Applications for MM2H visas go through the Tourism Ministry, with decisions conveyed within six to nine months.
Lim said the previous rejection rate was about 10%, and they were allowed to appeal the decision.
However, the massive number of rejections of late will result in the agents facing severe financial difficulties and even closure of their companies.
“We do not have excessive demands or unreasonable requests.We are only hoping for a fair and reasonable response on why there were many rejections,” he said.
He added that large sums of money that benefitted various sectors had been brought into the country via MM2H.
Since its inception in 2002, the government has given approval to some 40,000 foreigners to reside in Malaysia under MM2H.
Participants were granted a social visit pass with multiple entries over a 10-year period and a renewable visa.
Meanwhile, in a statement yesterday, the Immigration Department said all immigration matters related to MM2H would be handled at its headquarters in Putrajaya starting July 6.
The statement was issued in response to reports that the MM2H office at the Tourism Ministry had been closed.
Immigration director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud said in the meantime, those who need more information on MM2H can visit www.imi.gov.my or its Facebook page, or call 03-8880 1555.
Photo and news source from: thestar.com.y