Economists urge Malaysian government to relax 10-year visa

By Hoang Phong   June 16, 2023 | 04:16 pm PT
Economists urge Malaysian government to relax 10-year visa
A woman walks past Malaysia's Prime Minister's office in Putrajaya, Malaysia September 24, 2020. Photo by Reuters
Economic experts have suggested that the Malaysian government consider relaxing the strict requirements of its 10-year visa program to boost government revenue.

Economist Carmelo Ferlito said tighter restrictions would lead to fewer applications for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program, which would lead to fewer positive spillover effects on the economy, Free Malaysia Today reported.

Jimmy Puah, a member of Parliament for Tebrau, said the program could help relieve the national housing overhang if current MM2H requirements were relaxed so that more foreigners could qualify, according to the report.

The visa program, which was launched in 2002, allows foreigners to stay in Malaysia for up to 10 years.

In August 2021, the government imposed stricter conditions, requiring applicants to provide proof of RM1.5 million ($338,000) in liquid assets and a minimum RM40,000 in monthly income.

Previously, applicants only needed savings of between RM300,000 and RM500,000.

Puah said the current requirements are too high and should be revised to "somewhere in between" the current sum of RM1 million and the previous RM300,000.

Allowing more foreigners to qualify for the visa program could help to deal with the country’s vast number of unsold home.

Puah said that more than 20,000 residential units remain unsold in Johor.

Several Southeast Asian countries have been vying for wealthy foreigners by launching 'golden visas' with stays of many years, but stricter requirements have also been imposed.

Indonesia has introduced a new visa available for a period of five or ten years to those who hold at least two billion rupiahs (US$127,174) in their bank accounts.

Thailand's Long Term Residence visa is valid for 10 years and offers multiple entries, but applicants must hold at least $1 million in assets, a validated annual personal income of a minimum of $80,000 for the past two years, and an investment of at least $500,000 in Thai government bonds, foreign direct investment or Thai property.

go to top