JOHOR BARU, Sept 17 — Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar today expressed his disappointment with the Home Ministry over its reluctance to review the new criteria for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.
He said he would raise the matter personally with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob soon.
“The ministry’s decision is mind boggling and outrageous, considering that MM2H brought huge economic benefits to Malaysia,” said Sultan Ibrahim.
The 63-year-old state monarch added that Johor was also one of MM2H’s popular destinations, apart from the programme’s contribution to the state’s revenue.
He said the rejection of appeals for a review was despite an earlier promise by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin to reconsider the new criteria.
“What we have heard in Parliament is a mere promise to consider MM2H applicants on a case-by-case basis.
“It falls short of expectations, and I can only say that this is pathetic.
“This is a complete letdown to all the existing MM2H participants and relevant stakeholders,” Sultan Ibrahim said in a post on his official Facebook page today.
On September 14, Hamzah told Parliament that the revised criteria for the MM2H programme adds an additional layer of protection for national security purposes.
He said the revised criteria was aimed at attracting genuine, high-quality participants who can contribute positively to the country’s economic growth.
Hamzah said the procedure for new participants of the MM2H programme had stricter measures for security purposes.
However, the Larut MP stressed that for previous participants, it will be decided based on a case-to-case basis for the same reason.
Meanwhile, Sultan Ibrahim said if security was the main reason for the new criteria, then the Home Ministry only needs to revoke the visas of errant MM2H passholders, instead of imposing a blanket ruling that affects everyone.
He said the programme offers multiple economic effects for both Malaysians and the government.
“But now we are chasing them away and the bad international publicity is detrimental to Malaysia.
“I hope good sense will prevail and the government will reinstate the programme without any drastic changes immediately,” said Sultan Ibrahim.
The new terms and requirements of MM2H introduced by Putrajaya effective October include an increase in the minimum monthly income derived from offshore sources to RM40,000; minimum fixed deposit of RM1 million; minimum liquidity requirement of RM1.5 million; an annual visa fee of RM500; and a reduction of the visa duration to five years.