Sin Chew Daily
Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian has urged the Malaysian government to revive the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program to attract more Chinese nationals to reside in Malaysia and lure more investments from China to boost bilateral trade.
Launched since 2002, MM2H has been a success so far.
Close to 90% of MM2H applications have been rejected recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government then suspended the program in August for a review.
The tourism ministry said as a coordinating agency, it was no longer able to handle fresh applications.
Those keen to relocate to Malaysia are told to wait for the relaunch of MM2H.
This is a bad news for some 5,000 Chinese nationals who applied for MM2H and have invested in this country and arranged for their children to study here. They are caught in a catch-22 situation.
They will have to wait for the relaunch of MM2H, which could be end of this year, or even next year or two years later. The criteria may be stricter in order to qualify for the relaunched MM2H.
Many middle-class Chinese nationals who have placed MM2H as top priority are affected by the uncertainties, and this has prompted the ambassador to urge the Malaysian government to relaunch the program as soon as possible.
In the social media, we can read that many MM2H applicants are helpless, especially those who have bought properties or planned for their children's education here.
Many are prepared to give up their applications and sell off their properties here. This may lead to a herd effect with some adverse impact on the country's property sector.
The government's decision to suspend MM2H came as a surprise, as there were still plenty of videos on YouTube promoting life and education in Malaysia among the people in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan early this year.
It takes a lot of courage for people who plan to migrate as the decision may affect several generations. To the civil servants at the tourism ministry and immigration department, this is just part of their nine-to-five job!
The applicants are like ants on the hot pot while our civil servants are taking their own sweet time, casting a vast difference between the two parties.
If the government is serious about the new version of MM2H, then it should be more professional in its explanation. The explanation should address cases of rejected applications due to the government's policy under review but not because applicants have failed to meet the criteria.
Secondly, the government will be launching the latest update on MM2H with a new set of criteria required within the shortest span of time.
Thirdly, the government should notify the Malaysian embassies and consulates in various countries of the review.
Fourthly, civil servants are supposed to improve the quality of service and should not treat MM2H applicants as second class citizens.
Finally, applicants who meet the requirements should not be rejected without any valid reason. The authority to reject applications offers an opportunity for bribery.
From 2002 to July 2019, a total of 44,000 applicants successfully migrated to Malaysia under the MM2H program. From 2012 to 2018, a total of 10,762 applicants from China or 41% of total, were approved.
Other countries included Japan, Bangladesh, United Kingdom, South Korea and Singapore. Applicants from other countries who have been rejected are equally in the dark.
From the economic point of view, as of end 2019, the MM2H program contributed over RM16 billion to the national coffers. The figure does not include the chain effects generated for the economy of this country.
Fixed deposits and property purchases made up RM 6 billion each, not to mention education, medical and living expenses of these 40,000 MM2H residents.
How can we temporarily freeze MM2H applications given such lucrative revenue?
Can't the government review the policy while still accepting new applications?
If the civil servants are really serious at work, they would not be subjected to criticisms by the people.