Latest update on Malaysia My 2nd Home Visa Programme

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Legal, MM2H, Sabah MM2H, Sarawak MM2H

 

Malaysia’s long stay visa programme, more commonly known as Malaysia My Second Home or MM2H, was officially put on hold last year. This programme has been so popular with foreigners looking to relocate to a country with friendly locals, decent infrastructure, reasonable costs of living, where English and Mandarin are widely spoken that I continue to receive enquiries despite the moratorium. We are made to understand from this official link the powers that be see it in their wisdom to improve the programme, hence the suspension:

http://motac.gov.my/en/media/release/temporary-suspension-of-malaysia-my-second-home-programme-mm2h

Apart from the usual questions as to what needs to be fulfilled for admission, whether these will be changed, I’m often asked if I have news on when this suspension will be lifted. Despite unsubstantiated rumours plus a press statement or two from our Minister of Tourism which have been in circulation earlier in the year which, in my opinion, contained scant details, I have refrained from making any updates at least until now.

I believe the time is now ripe for an update because I now note some important details in the statements made by the Right Honourable Minister. I refer more specifically to the post dated March 16th 2021 on the Minister’s Facebook page which was followed by reports in the press on Friday 26th March, 2021 where Datin Shukri refers to a presentation by KPMG’s Management & Risk Consulting team on a study commissioned by the Government. There is reference to the study being concluded and the recommendations awaiting our Cabinet’s approval.  There is further mention of 2 possible new visas, namely: The Retirement Program (How is this different from the current MM2H I hear you ask lol) & the Residence by Investment programme. The new visa options are, in theory, great news for the various needs of our foreign guests and show a Government who is tuned in with the latest requirements of the international community. However, with waiting times of 6 months to a year for processing of MM2H in 2019, would we be able to cope? Nonetheless, after a year we finally see a light at the end of the tunnel even if practically speaking, we are awaiting the details.

 

The image below is taken from the Facebook page of our Minister of Tourism, Datin Shukri dated March 16th 2021.

For further reading refer also to:

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2021/03/26/waiting-for-cabinet-to-lift-mm2h-suspension?fbclid=IwAR1G7Bdkr-YExIX6CknyuvrVDzz9LkdiHYzrn5YqS2hRChl3AmcPqvcptNU

Expats returning to Malaysia during Covid – Quarantine times shorten

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Legal, MM2H, Retirement, Sabah MM2H, Sarawak MM2H

When advising on Malaysian Immigration guidelines I often get my ears bent by expatriates who are frustrated with policies which in their eyes seem unclear, contradicting or unfair. Recent Covid guidelines on expatriates returning to Malaysia are a prime example. Not that I hold a Government position nor do I represent the Malaysian Government (despite what some of my expat clients seem to think lol) but to be fair to the Malaysian Government everyone including the international community are doing their best in these trying times.

While on this topic, I would like to bring your attention to the latest development of our initial 14 day quarantine timeline which has evolved to as short as 7 days. For the details refer to the link below:

https://esd.imi.gov.my/portal/latest-news/announcement/reduced-quarantine-perio-for-inbound-travellers/

Finally, as we start the 1st week of 2021, I wonder what the year has in store for us. All I can say is, whatever it may bring, I shall be giving my best  –  The photo above of a meal shared with a mate after mountain biking Mt. Erskine stands as a reminder! On this note, I wish you Happy New Year! May we be versatile, patient and have our eyes on the horizon.

Monday 4th January, 2021

The latest on applying for Sarawak Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H), Malaysia

Posted on 32 CommentsPosted in Investments, MM2H, Sarawak MM2H

British High Commission Estate Planning and MM2H update with Datin Sharifah Ikhlas, Director of MM2H

British High Commission Estate Planning and MM2H update with Datin Sharifah Ikhlas, Director of MM2H

While the Malaysia My Second Home Programme for Peninsular Malaysia has been put on hold, raising questions  MM2H applicants and even MM2H agents can’t answer, the Sabah and Sarawak MM2H programmes are ongoing. (see: https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/sarawak-continue-smm2h-despite-federal-govts-suspension-programme) The Sarawak immigration has distinguished itself as the standard bearer in terms of clarity, ease of use and efficiency  for MM2H applicants and peace of mind for Sarawakian MM2H agents depending on MM2H as their rice bowl. Kudos to Sarawak! In light of this, I wanted to quickly do a short introduction to the Sarawak MM2H and show how it compares with the Peninsular Malaysia MM2H.

Malaysia is a federation of 13 states and the two Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak also known as East Malaysia retain a degree of autonomy under this system. One of these areas of autonomy includes the right to regulate the immigration of their respective states, which is why Sabah and Sarawak have their own version of the popular long stay visa, known as Malaysia My Second Home.

The Sarawak MM2H was put on hold for a week (ONE WHOLE WEEK! LOL) for some revisions to be made which was concluded Friday, 4th September, 2020. Notwithstanding the revisions,  the Sarawak MM2H still remains a viable alternative (from a faster processing timing and lower financial threshold perspective) for foreigners already in Malaysia wishing to remain to consider while the Peninsular MM2H is suspended ostensibly till end of the year for ‘revision’. MM2H applicants who are currently outside Malaysia face the problem of coming into Malaysia for the submission of their application and endorsement of their MM2H visas. Foreigners who are in Malaysia and want to remain long term in Malaysia can explore this option.

Here are the main differences/similarities between the current West Malaysia MM2H (subject, of course, to any revisions the powers that be may in their wisdom dictate) and the Sarawak MM2H:

Peninsular or West Malaysia MM2H Sarawak MM2H
Separate categories for applicants above or below 50 years.

50 years and above: show cash of RM350,000/- and monthly income of RM10,000/- anywhere in the world prior to the approval and place a fixed deposit of RM150,000/- in a Malaysian bank after approval.

50 years and below: show cash of RM500,000/- and monthly income of RM10,000/- anywhere in the world prior to the approval and place a fixed deposit of RM300,000/- in a Malaysian bank after approval.

Separate categories for applicants above or below 50 years.

50 year and above (married couple): must show either a monthly income of RM10,000/- anywhere in the world OR place a fixed deposit of RM300,000/- in a bank in Sarawak upon application.

50 year and above (single): must show either a monthly income of RM7,000/- anywhere in the world OR place a fixed deposit of RM150,000/- in a bank upon application.

40 to 50 years: can be considered if they have children attending school in Sarawak or are themselves undergoing long term medical treatment in Sarawak or invest in a residential property of at least RM600,000/-

30 to 40 years: can be considered if they have children attending school in Sarawak or are themselves undergoing long term medical treatment

 

 

Letter of Good Conduct & Health Insurance Letter of Good Conduct & Health Insurance
Sponsor or security bond Sarawakian sponsor required
10 year visa (renewable). 5  year visa (renewable provided the applicant stays a minimum of 15 days per annum in Sarawak).
No need to be present at the immigration office on application.

Both spouses need to be present in the country upon approval for endorsement of the visa on to their respective passports.

Both spouses must be present on submission of the application.

Both spouses must be present on the approval to endorse the visa on their respective passports.

 

No possibility of PR but currently renewable for a further 10 years. No possibility of PR but currently renewable for a further 5 years.
Part time work is permissible, on application, if the applicant possesses special skills. Not permitted to work
Parents over 60 years and children under 21 years can come in as dependents.

 

Parents above 60 years and children 21yrs and below
Typically, 8-12 month approval period after submission of the application. Currently suspended

 

Approximately 2 months after submission of the application.

For further reading, do refer also to:

https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/sarawak-enhances-requirements-smm2h-programme

 

Sam Choong

8th January, 2021

Cheaper properties now available to foreigners in Penang

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Investments, MM2H, Penang, Property

Following my recent article on property purchase by foreigners (https://samchoong.com/2020/06/03/purchasing-

property-malaysian-secondary-market-foreign-purchaser-needs-know/), it was reported on June 11th, 2020 that the Penang state government is lowering the price threshold of properties foreigners are entitled to purchase. Here is the summary of the price threshold of properties available for purchase by foreigners in Penang (island):

  • The current price threshold for apartments is to be lowered from RM1,000,000/- to RM800,000/-;
  • The current price threshold for landed residential properties is to be lowered from RM3,000,000/- to RM1,800,000/-.

Our checking with the Penang land office as of the 16th June, 2020 indicates that this has not come into force although we expect this to be implemented soon. If you are looking to purchase one of these lower threshold properties, it would be prudent to check with your lawyer before signing an earnest monies contract or sale and purchase agreement. For further reading refer to:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation

/2020/06/11/penang

-announces-cheaper-affordable-homes-drops-minimum-price-for-foreign-buyers/

Do note that until further updates, those holding Malaysia’s long stay visa, known as Malaysia My Second Home  (MM2H for short) are still entitled to purchase residential properties at an even lower threshold for Penang, namely RM500,000/-. For those of you thinking of obtaining MM2H for the purpose of making such property purchase, expect the approval timeline to remain approximately 6-9 months or longer as the Malaysian immigration are still practicing partial working from home. The MM2H requirements remain unchanged for now.

My 2019 article on the types of properties a foreigner can purchase needs to be read together with this update: https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation

/2020/06/11/penang-announces-cheaper-affordable

-homes-drops-minimum-price-for-foreign-buyers/.

 

Further to the above lowering of price threshold for foreigners, the Government has also announced a real property gains tax (RPGT) exemption for Malaysians for disposal of up to three properties between June 1, 2020 and Dec 31, 2021. Although this article serves to guide a foreign purchaser, this RPGT exemption which applies only to a Malaysian vendor may be good to keep in mind just in case there is a gap between the offer price and the selling price. The savings from this RPGT exemption may well bridge this gap! For further reading refer to:

https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/pm-reintroduces-home-ownership-campaign?type=malaysia

 

 

Purchasing a property in the Malaysian secondary market – What a foreign purchaser needs to know

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in MM2H, Penang, Property, Stamp Duty

Facebook and various large companies have recently given employees the option of working from home permanently. Whatsapp, Wechat, Zoom or Team calls feel like second nature as we get accustomed to the new way of life. Air travel, hotels, restaurants, theme parks to name just a few have become victims of this shift. Yet as this segment of the economy wanes, other unexplored or segments which previously fell by the wayside have started coming under the spotlight. My mate who runs the main baking shop in Penang tells me he has not seen such demand for his products since the baking craze in the 80s. People are literally lining to get into his shop. Local food suppliers & vegetable farmers are experiencing similar increased demands as limited border activities reduce imports. In the US, increasing demand for properties in smaller cities or towns has been reported as people see less need to stay near their work places in the cities and seek cheaper options in the suburbs.

 

As the World grapples with loss of income or diminished income, there is inevitably a search for more affordable options including migrating to countries like Malaysia (As a side note, for those who are applying for MM2H, Malaysia’s long stay visa, you don’t need to be in the country to submit your application. The application currently takes about 8 to 9 months to approve. I would therefore encourage early submission if you want to stay long term in Malaysia. This is because the Malaysian Immigration authorities do not encourage “visa runs” so it’s best to have this organised early.). Or the “work from anywhere” new norm has broaden options for intrepid travellers. Either way, for those who are in cash or are seeking a new life in a foreign land, there are undoubtedly bargains or affordable options (See: https://www.edgeprop.my/content/1618639/kl-ranked-second-best-city-world-expats) to be had in Malaysia. There is furthermore talk of reduced stamp duties and property gains tax. During the 2007 – 2008 global financial crisis, Malaysia temporarily suspended gains tax and this spurred record transactions. See https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/cover-story-property-market-outlook-and-opportunities-times-uncertainty. If all this pans out, Malaysia’s property sector stands to gain.

With this backdrop, here’s my list of what a foreign purchaser should look out for when purchasing a property in the Malaysian secondary market. Instead of a full on legal commentary on the acquisition of properties by foreigners (I get it. Much as I am passionate about the legal details, if you ‘re just wanting to relocate to Malaysia, you’re not looking for the full lecture on Malaysian Property law. This is, of course, available by dropping me an email at sam@ckylegal.com). The following is compiled from the questions most frequently posed to me by clients:

 

COSTS – Here are the estimated costs of acquisition to look at:

 

  • Legal fees & disbursements for the purchase:
  • Legal fees
  • 1st RM500,000.00                – 1.0% (min of RM500.00)  on the property’s market value
  • Next RM500,000.00            –  0.8%.
  • Next RM2,000,000.00        –  0.7%.
  • Next RM2,000,000.00        –  0.6%.
  • Next RM2,500,000.00        –  0.5%.

 

  • Stamp Duty
  • First RM100,000                                : 1% on the property’s market value
  • RM 100,001 to 500,000                    : 2%
  • RM 500,001 to RM1,000,000         : 3%
  • RM1,000,001 and above                   : 4%

 

 

  • Application fees for the foreigner’s state consent to purchase:
  • For Penang residential property   :  RM10,000 (foreign individual) / RM20,000 (foreign company)
  • For Penang commercial property  :  RM20,000 (foreign individual) / RM40,000 (foreign company)

 

  • Levy payable on obtaining the foreigner’s state consent to purchase:
  • For Penang landed property        :  3% of purchase price
  • For Penang strata property at
  • RM1 million to RM1.5 million       :  1.5% of purchase price

 

  • Legal fees & disbursements for the loan:
  • Legal fees
  • 1st RM500,000.00            – 1.0% (min of RM500.00) on the loan amount
  • Next RM500,000.00          –  8%.
  • Next RM2,000,000.00       –  0.7%.
  • Next RM2,000,000.00        –  0.6%.
  • Next RM2,500,000.00        –  0.5%.

 

  • Stamp duty
    Stamp duty on the Facilities Agreement – 0.5% x loan amount + RM 10.00 per copy.
  • Estate agents fees:
  • Up to 3% of the value of the property
  • Note:
  • The Penang practice is for the 3% to be split between the Purchaser & Vendor
  • In Kuala Lumpur the practice is for the Vendor to bear.
  • It’s advisable to clarify this from the outset.

The above cost calculations are a handful especially if an impromptu offer is expected. In such an instance, I normally use 10% as a rough guide for the above costs on top of the purchase price.

Do note that the above write up and cost calculation serves as a general quide. It is therefore advisable to consult your own lawyers prior to any major decisions as land laws vary from state to state in Malaysia, the title may have an unusual restriction, transfer fee or tax and may be updated from time to time. Should you have further clarifications, do drop me an email at sam@ckylegal.com.

 

Sam Choong

June 2020

Police Permit for inter-state travel within Malaysia during this Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO)

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Investments, MM2H, Retirement

Inter-state travel in Malaysia, whether by road or by air, requires consent during this Conditional Movement Control Order period.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/05/20/air-travellers-need-permit-too

I’ve just accompanied a foreign client to the police station in Pulau Tikus (Note that only the Police Station in charge of the area where you reside will process this application), Penang, to assist in the application of a police permit for him to fly to KLIA from Penang. I must say, it was a pretty straightforward procedure. We obtained the consent within 30 minutes at no cost. Do ensure:

  1. A letter of application (ours was in Bahasa Malaysia to make it user friendly to the police) is furnished setting out the reason;
  2. Fill in the attached PKP form (It’s been translated from Bahasa into English to make it user friendly for our foreign friends).

Police Form

MM2H Holders Permitted to return to Malaysia!

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in MM2H, Retirement, Sabah MM2H, Sarawak MM2H

Weekends are sacred. Time to catch up with family and to recharge. Some “me” time and I’m looking forward to hitting the Tanjung Bungah Market to source ingredients for my latest attempt at baking the banana bread! Still, this piece of news came in through Whatsapp this morning, I have reconfirmed this with MM2H and it’s got to be shared before my baking activities! Credit goes to the MM2H team at the Ministry of Tourism who have lobbied for this and here’s the result, MM2H holders stranded outside Malaysia can now return “home”:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2020/05/16/mm2h-holders-stranded-overseas-can-return-home/

Welcome back folks!

Malaysia My Second Home MCO Updates for MM2H holders & applicants

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in MM2H, Retirement

Today marks the first day we officially return to the office in Penang and I must say I have mixed feelings. My surfer and biker friends often talk about retirement or taking time off to ride the mountain passes of Leh & Ladakh in Northern India or surf uncrowded waves in Sri Lanka or other locations which can’t be mentioned openly! Unfortunately, being time poor, these “dreams” remain as they are. It was therefore with great reluctance that I went into Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (“MCO”), our equivalent of the “lockdown” on the 18th of March, 2020. As I reflect on this mixed feeling of going back to the office, I realise it stems not so much from the resentment that this was wasted time which could have been have used to learn tube riding or to carve mountain roads as much as it is about giving up a routine I’ve gotten into and actually enjoyed. Although I initially begrudged being dragged away from my work routine, over the past few weeks I’ve actually enjoyed some moments of solitude. I took stock, realigned priorities and experienced numerous “I see the light moments”. These being a luxury we never had with the noise and bustle of life sprinting full speed ahead.

As Malaysia partially relaxes the MCO and offices in the private and public sector start to open, albeit in a new work environment, guidelines are being released by the authorities to address issues which have cropped up for foreigners as our country grounded to a sudden halt in March, 2020.

From an immigration perspective, during the MCO period, the social visit passes of MM2H applicants who have come into Malaysia to submit their applications may have expired as have the MM2H visas of some MM2H holders. What do these people do?

Today’s guideline (refer below) which has been issued by the Ministry of Tourism (MM2H) on the 6th of May, 2020 address these concerns.  As usual, should you require further clarifications, do contact the Ministry of Tourism. We can also be contacted at sam@ckylegal.com should you prefer to work through us.

 

IMMIGRATION PROCEDURES (UPDATES 6TH MAY 2020)

RENEWAL OF VISA FOR MALAYSIA MY SECOND HOME (MM2H) MEMBERS THAT EXPIRED DURING MOVEMENT CONTROL ORDER (MCO)

All MM2H members who have overstayed during MCO is enforced will be issued a Special Pass by the Immigration Department of Malaysia. The visa fee for the Special Pass is exempted temporarily for the situation. However, the issuance of Special Pass is subject to the following situation:-

a. Those Social Visit Pass holders whose pass expired during MCO are allowed to proceed with the first   endorsement of the MM2H Long Term Pass. However, the foreign visitors must first apply for the Special Pass at the Immigration Unit, MM2H Centre, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and subsequently will be allowed to proceed with the first endorsement of the MM2H Long Term Pass at the same venue.

b. Those Social Visit Pass holders whose pass expired during MCO and have entered Malaysia to apply for Add On/Dependents First Endorsement of MM2H Long Term Pass, must first apply for the Special Pass at theEnforcement Unit, Immigration Headquarters. Subsequently will be allowed to proceed with the first endorsement of the MM2H Long Term Pass at the Immigration Unit, MM2H Centre, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

c. Those MM2H members who applied for 10 years visa renewal or extension of remaining 10 years, whose visa expired during MCO, must apply for the Special Pass at the Immigration Unit, MM2H Centre, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture while awaiting approval.

d. For the MM2H Dependents Pass holders whose pass expired during MCO but the Principal holder of MM2H visa is not in Malaysia, the MM2H Dependents Pass holders must apply for the Special Pass at the Immigration Unit, MM2H Centre, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. The Special Pass will be given for a duration until the Principal is able to renew the pass.

e. Those MM2H domestic helper work permit that expired during MCO, the Principal/Employer must first apply for the Special Pass at the Immigration Unit, MM2H Centre, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture before proceed to do the medical check-up (Fomema) for the domestic helper. Subsequently, after obtaining the result of the Fomema, the Principal holder of MM2H visa may proceed with renewal of domestic helper visa at the same venue.

f. Please be reminded that all Immigration related transaction at the MM2H Centre only via appointment.

 

Malaysia My Second Home Centre

Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture

6 May 2020

 

Can Malaysian MM2H Holders return to Malaysia during this Covid period?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in MM2H, Retirement

Here’s another question that crops up frequently over the past weeks especially for holders of Malaysia’s long stay visa known as Malaysia My Second Home or MM2H for short. Unfortunately nothing concrete yet as to whether holders of MM2H visas who are currently abroad can return to Malaysia. Currently Malaysia focusses its efforts in dealing with the last of the Covid cases, relaxing its Movement Control Order in stages, reviving the economy and minimising imported cases. As and when MM2H holders are permitted back into Malaysia, some form of quarantine is likely. Here’s a statement by Malaysia’s Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on the matter:

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/05/06/expats-cannot-return-yet?fbclid=IwAR066AOSFN3R4VSrXw4ke0rW5gJXzd-3pFZZjuEFm12vyutUcHElKHp1E-Y

To put things in perspective, here’s how the rest of the world is dealing with the entry of foreigners and minimising imported Covid cases:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travel_restrictions_related_to_the_COVID-19_pandemic

Do bear with us. We look forward to welcoming back our foreign friends!