Start Sabah My Second Home program for Malaysians – Yong

KOTA KINABALU (June 9): Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee urges the Sabah government to take up his proposal made in August 2023 to start a Sabah My Second Home (SM2H) program for non-Sabahan Malaysians to invest in properties in Sabah.

As Sabah M2H is limited only to other Malaysians and not foreigners, he said this program is within the complete immigration powers of the Sabah government.

“As for the purchase of properties, the transfer of funds within Malaysia (to Sabah) is a straightforward process. Such a simple program could have been implemented on 1 January 2024. This is not the same as Sabah MM2H which is for non-Malaysians. This is SM2H for Malaysians,” he pointed out in a statement today.

Yong who is a former Sabah chief minister, said once the Sabah authorities have proven itself efficiently capable of handling SM2H, then Sabah can start implementing the MM2H program later this year. “At the moment, even Sabah business people don’t know how the MM2H program works. When I asked questions in the Legislative Assembly, no satisfactory answer was given.

“Hopefully, after our own SabahM2H program has been put in place, our Sabah Minister of Tourism would have realised the wisdom and found the time to engage with the Federal Ministry of Tourism to move forward on MM2H,” he said.

In the case of MM2H, he said the applicants are foreign business people. Being foreign nationals, they will want to be absolutely confident that their investments will be honoured with residency privileges. But with the hostile exchanges between the Sabah Minister and Federal Minister over the MM2H program, investor confidence have evaporated into thin air.

“Foreign investors are not stupid. Specifically, foreign applicants for MM2H remember the bitter experience of Forest City of Johor where they were lured by vague promises of residency privileges in Malaysia and even Singapore. “So, without a clear and unequivocal commitment by both the Sabah and federal governments, there will be no takers for MM2H in Sabah,” Yong added.

Although the federal government has to respect Sabah autonomy on immigration, he said the foreigners know that they need federal immigration permits to enter Malaysia, of which Sabah is a part.

The last time that Sabah policy and federal policy did not align was the dispute over “dine-in” at eateries in Sabah towards the end of the Covid-19 era. At the time (in June 2021), the federal National Safety Council had not yet allowed dine-in at coffee shops and restaurants but Sabah rightly denied the federal policy. The local authorities allowed coffee shops to open for dine-in. No enforcement was taken by the federal police and health departments in Sabah.

“Our business people and ministers should realise that MM2H is not a coffee shop matter. MM2H involves holders of foreign passports whom we want to spend at least RM600,000 each in Sabah buying properties that they cannot take out easily.

“I urge our Sabah government to urgently take up the proposed Sabah My Second Home which does not need federal involvement,” said Yong who is a nominated assemblyman.

On May 27, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Cultural (MOTAC) issued a directive to suspend the operations of all licensed agents handling MM2H applications, including those in Sabah and Sarawak.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew on Friday said that her ministry will proceed with the MM2H in Sabah even if MOTAC fails to give them an approval.

She also said that proceeding with the programme in Sabah will not contravene with the law as her ministry has met with the Immigration Department, the police as well as the relevant authorities to approve the applications under the programme.

Federal Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Dato Seri Tiong King Sing then hit out at Liew.

Tiong claimed that Liew or her representative did not attend meetings convened by MOTAC to discuss the MM2H matter for Sabah. (Read Here)