Malaysia My Second Home Programme Under Threat
 
By MANJIT KAUR
 
 
KUALA LUMPUR: Hanky-panky by officers in a government department and unscrupulous agents are jeopardising efforts to promote the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.
 
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said these were among the main factors holding back the success of the programme.
 
Among the requirements for those intending to make Malaysia their home under the programme is for those below the age of 50 to have a fixed deposit of RM300,000 in a local bank. They are allowed to withdraw up to RM240,000 after one year on condition that the money is invested in Malaysia.
 
Unfortunately during this transition period (one year), some of the officers from a department did something which is not nice for me to say.
 
But the mess has been cleaned up by the department, and we are working closely to ensure that such incidences do not occur again.
 
A few officers from the department have been sacked for not following the stipulated rules and regulations on fixed deposits, Tengku Adnan told reporters after launching a six-page special supplement entitled Panorama 6 for the Japanese market in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2007 at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday.
 
He said he did not want to discuss or elaborate on the problems within the department as the matter was being sorted out.
 
As for the local agents appointed by the ministry to help foreigners with their MM2H applications, he said some were charging up to US$15,000 (RM52,500) for their services.
 
The agents are only allowed to charge a maximum of US$2,500 (RM8,750) but some of them are known to have charged between US$10,000 and US$15,000 (RM35,000-RM52,500).
 
We are watching them (these agents) carefully, and if they continue with this ridiculous tactic, their licences will be revoked.
 
I hope everyone will play their part honestly to promote the programme and not create a negative impression of the country, he added.
 
Tengku Adnan said the cooperation of all parties was needed for the programme, which comes under the ministry, as they were now targeting the Japanese and Irish.
 
Eight million Japanese are expected to retire this year, while for the Irish their Employees' Provident Fund is expected to mature in April, and these people will be looking for second homes.
 
Our main competitors in Europe are Spain and other Mediterranean countries, while in Asia it is Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia.
 
These countries are all coming up with good offers. We will watch what they are doing, and if we need to upgrade the (MM2H) programme to make it more competitive, we will inform the Cabinet, he said.
 
A total of 8,723 applications mainly from people in China, Bangladesh, Britain, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan have been approved since the MM2H programme was launched in 2002. (see chart)
 

Last year, there was a total of 4,111 applications, of which 1,728 were successful.

 
 
 
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