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YOURSAY | MM2H fiasco – govt cuts off nose to spite its face

YOURSAY | ‘It thinks that by raising its price, it can raise its revenue.’

COMMENT | Pendatangs and foreigners are not welcome

DiHarapan: The MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home) programme (since it was launched in 2002) brought in about RM50 billion up to last year when the pandemic started.

It was managed by Tourism Malaysia and handled quite expertly. Unlike medical tourism, the MM2H programme benefited many areas of the Malaysian economy, including the growth of our international education sector.

While it attracted many wealthy retirees from all over the world, the programme also attracted many wealthy Middle Easterners to Malaysia's multicultural and multi-ethnic and multireligious environment. To them, Malaysia is a very peaceful, modern and moderate Islamic country. The fact that Malaysians are multilingual, and many of whom could speak English, is an added attraction.

Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin is burning this golden opportunity.

Sun: Hamzah is like a trader who thinks that by raising his price he can raise his revenue.

That will only be if as Economics 101 teaches, your demand is inelastic. In simpler terms, the goods you sell (residency in Malaysia) must have no other substitutes. But since Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand are effective substitutes, the demand for your product will be elastic.

In layman's terms, this means if you raise the price of your product, your revenue will fall more than proportionately than your price increase. So a 10 percent price increase, for example, will lead to a more than 10 percent decline in revenue.

Instead of helping Malaysia, Hamzah and his "boys" would have done irreparable damage. Surely someone in his ministry must have done high school economics to help him understand this.

Newday: Two of my friends (through sport) are both MM2H holders. One is here for 16 years and the other for 12.

They are not retirees and are reasonably wealthy but not overly so. Both have built businesses from the ground up with new technologies. Both employ upwards of 30 locals, and both do not and cannot comply with these new draconian conditions.

Now? Big decisions needing to be made in a short period of time. Both are so dismayed that they will have to leave. Both are looking to Thailand as an alternative, and both will take their blood, sweat and tears-built businesses with them and 30 plus locals will join the unemployment queue.

Is that your desired outcome, Hamzah and those that have imposed these obscene new conditions? This is another nail in the coffin of foreigners investing in Malaysia. It is another nail in our reputation coffin as well.

We can do so much better than this.

OCD: I read some stark statistics a few weeks ago - as I recall they were attributed to Hamzah.

There is an allocation of around 300,000 MM2H visa holders allowed. Right now, there are 28,000 MM2H (plus an equal number of dependents) visas issued. Of those, some 8,000 have never resided in Malaysia and only 10,000 have bought property here. These may not be the exact numbers but they are indicative.

Based on those numbers, you would think that if the government wants to attract more investment, then what they are proposing is going to have quite the reverse effect.

By all means, provide incentive (or a stick) to those that are not investing or residing here. But why penalise those that have already invested and are residing in Malaysia, and who spend their money here and participate in the diverse communities that abound in Malaysia.

This Hamzah initiative seems to be cutting off his nose to spite his face. There is no logic or sanity to it!

I'm certain many will leave if the government persists with the proposed MM2H changes for existing MM2H visa holders. Who in their right mind is going to put RM1 million on term deposit at some ridiculously low interest rate? No one. A better return can be had elsewhere on such a sum.

And a monthly income of RM40,000 per month? Which retired person gets that much. And if they did, why would they want to live in Malaysia?

Enlightened Globalist: The root cause of the disdain for non-Malays and labelling them as 'pendatang', is the Malay supremacy or 'ketuanan' ideology. Unfortunately, MM2H has also been dragged into the 'pendatang' category.

The country is becoming more inward-looking and xenophobic. Many MM2H are non-Muslim and do not fit into the Wahhabi Islam ideology. Years of indoctrination by these Saudi-trained Islamic graduates has resulted in an increasing dislike of non-believers or kaffirs.

As former ambassador Dennis Ignatius in his book ‘Paradise Lost’ says, "Intolerant Wahhabi Islam has infiltrated most sectors of the civil service." And many policies like the new guidelines on MM2H are probably drafted by the civil service.

MM2H should look at other countries that are less ideologically driven and more liberal such as Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and UAE.

Anon25: I have a friend, an entrepreneur, who was a MM2H holder in Malaysia because he loved the people and our way of life. But he felt seriously discriminated against when the pandemic hit, with him out of the country and his wife and children here.

He had expected he would get similar treatment as Malaysians. But he was disappointed. Officers were rude and unsure about what to do with his situation.

So since he was in Singapore, he applied for a similar programme there. They responded immediately and moved his family to Singapore. He has now decided to stay in Singapore.

Let There Be Light: Unless the government realises that it has made a really bad mistake changing the terms and conditions of MM2H and quickly change it back to the old terms and conditions, all will be lost.

Malaysia will be seen to be a very unfriendly country to stay for wealthy foreigners.

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