Second Home, Second Thought

Stampeding civilians trying to board a US plane on the runway in Kabul airport during the evacuation
I know the questions you are going to ask me.
Whether Malaysia’s new MM2H rules are fair or make any sense in helping our damaged economy and tourism. Whether past or existing applicants are exempted and can still follow the old conditions. Whether the government by this new policy is intending to chase overseas people away from the country.
The new MM2H rules are supposed to be the culmination of months of expert study and consultancy. From 1 October to get MM2H you must have a monthly passive income of around USD10,000 and savings in the bank of USD375,000 out of which USD250,000 must be placed in a bank account in Malaysia.
These criteria will apply across the board even to current MM2H holders after their existing visa expires. In other words the rules are retrospective and sad to say, pretty prohibitive.
So the answers to your questions are no. The new rules are not fair. You are not exempted even if your earlier application under the old rules had been accepted and returned. But they are not doing this to discourage foreigners from coming. Malaysia still welcomes foreigners but it looks like only rich ones.
Do these rules make sense? Maybe not to you but it does to the architects of what is being called our new normal world.
Just take a look at vaccine passports in liberty-loving France, the Taliban recapture of Afghanistan within days without a fight and the mass internment of national populations around the world in the name of a bad viral flu.
In case you have a final question – can these MM2H changes be changed and reversed? 
That ultimately depends on how we all decide to respond to the “new normal”. Unless we all put our foot down and say that enough is enough and no more, the newer things are, the less normal they will be.

Tibetans in India

Crowds making their way out of the main temple in Dharamsala after listening to a Wesak Day address by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Copyright Kerk Boon Leng @ 2018.

Sixty years after His Holiness the Dalai Lama made the perilous journey over the Himalayas with his family and followers to escape Chinese communist rule, more than 100,000 Tibetans remain in India where they are not officially refugees but “long-term guests”.

Please read more in Dharamsala Dreaming.



Malaysia this year is a country excited for change. But judging by the way the country is handling the change it wants to make to immigration especially MM2H, it appears not to know how.

Last month the Malaysian government sent a notice to all MM2H licensed agents to tell them that the usual monthly committee meetings to vet applications and to approve them in batches have stopped. All applications they say will now go straight to the Minister responsible for immigration for his decision.

Unhelpfully the Government did not say how this new procedure will affect the time taken for processing approvals. We can only guess that the new processing time will likely be longer than the 6 months it now takes for approval.

The Government’s notice worded in officialese and clumsily circulated via MM2H Agents Association group chat has caused widespread concern and confusion. The notice has misled many into thinking the MM2H programme has been suspended. It hasn’t.

Applications for MM2H are still being accepted. Actually more applications have been received lately. The increase is fueled partly by rumours that the government will soon raise the bar for MM2H or maybe even disband it altogether.

So for those who are interested, you can and should still apply now for MM2H. It’s just that you need to brace yourself for a longer waiting period.

Kerk Boon Leng