GEORGE TOWN: The federal government needs to be wary of Thailand’s new visa measures, which are expected to make the nation a strong candidate for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program, said Yeoh Soon Hin, member of Penang exco.
The chairman of the Penang Tourism and Creative Economy Committee said Thailand recently introduced a new visa and a new tax measure to attract wealthy foreigners to pull the country out of its economic contraction.
“Thailand’s position with this new visa program is very clear, it stimulates foreign investment by encouraging leading global communities to settle in Thailand to ultimately help the economy of their country,” he said. he said in a statement yesterday.
While welcoming the reactivation of MM2H after a year of suspension, Yeoh said there shouldn’t be such a big shock with the new requirements.
“I understand that the federal government wants to target high income participants with adequate capabilities with these new thresholds. However, we need to understand the seriousness of MM2H in the landscape of international visa regimes.
“MM2H’s competitiveness arose from its friendly requirements.
“If we are to compete with Thailand’s new visa regime, relaxing our MM2H requirement is a mandatory step,” he added.
Yeoh pointed out that MM2H’s stringent requirements would also put Penang at a disadvantage, despite the state being one of the preferred destinations for expats, especially after repeatedly receiving praise from CNN, International Living and the New York Post.
He also urged Interior Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin to speed up his response to dismay over the latest MM2H demands. It was announced on August 11 that MM2H will be reactivated with nine new conditions after the program was suspended in August of last year.
MM2H’s revised terms and requirements, which will take effect in October, include an increase in the minimum monthly income (from offshore sources) to RM40,000, a minimum fixed deposit of RM1 million, a minimum liquidity requirement of RM1 , 5 million RM, an annual visa fee of 500 RM, and a reduction in visa duration to five years.