China tops MM2H programme

KUALA LUMPUR: The number of Chinese nationals taking part in the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme is expected to increase in the next few years and spur domestic economic activities.
There were 3,332 Chinese participants as of August, making it the highest number of all MM2H participants, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.
From January to August, 475 Chinese nationals joined the programme compared with 133 the same period last year, she said.
“We expect to see a substantial increase in the number of participants from China from next year onwards,” she said during the memorandum of understanding signing ceremony between the Ministry and the Bank of China (BOC), for the latter to promote MM2H to all its bank customers through its branches in China and other parts of the world.
Dr Ng pointed out that with 10,961 branches in and outside China (six in Malaysia), the bank has 300,000 high net worth (more than US$1mil) customers.
Since 2002 until August, the MM2H programme had successfully attracted 19,488 participants from 120 countries and after China, the other highest participants were Bangladesh (2,407), Japan (2,187), Britain (1,889) and Iran (1,211).
Dr Ng said Malaysia needed to maintain its economic vibrancy not just by drawing tourists in but also by getting them to stay longer.
The programme had also spurred the property market, as 1,659 pieces of property worth RM1.5bil were bought under MM2H from 2007 to 2012, she said.
For the programme, successful applicants are given a 10-year social visit pass with a multiple entry visa which is renewable for as long as they like, besides enjoying tax-free income from abroad.
Ambassador of China to Malaysia Chai Xi said he foresaw the number of Chinese nationals participating in MM2H to triple in five years.
He added that Malaysia was one of the nicest countries in the world to live in while Bank of China chief executive officer Zhen Jingbo said he would promote MM2H to attract Chinese entrepreneurs and individuals from greater China to invest here.
At another event, Dr Ng launched the book Enchanting Malaysia, which tourists could buy as souvenirs.
Source: The Star, 9 Nov 2012