- Malaysia says 251 Hong Kong residents have applied so far this year, with an expat agency saying there has been a surge in the last two weeks
- The ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ initiative allows wealthy foreigners to live in the country and buy property there
A Malaysian programme to attract wealthy foreigners to live in the Southeast Asian nation has drawn 251 applications from Hong Kong residents so far this year, compared with 193 approved from the city last year, a government official said.
Property consultants said interest in the “Malaysia My Second Home” (MM2H) initiative has surged among residents of the Asian financial hub, rattled by anti-government protests that began more than 11 weeks ago.
Real property agents expect Malaysia and Thailand to benefit the most from some Hong Kong residents’ frustration over the second bout of lengthy demonstrations in five years in the former British colony, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
“Our strength lies not only in our nation’s friendliness, affordable cost of living and high quality of life (health care included) but also the stability of our economy and politics plus our developed infrastructure,” said Sharifah Ikhlas Aljaffree, the director of the programme run by Malaysia’s tourism ministry.
Sharifah said the programme had received this year a total of 3,500 applications by Tuesday, versus 6,279 in 2018.
Hong Kong applicants are on either side of 50 and work in sectors such as information and communications technology, Sharifah added.
Those approved get renewable multiple-entry resident visas and are allowed to buy property valued at 1 million ringgit (US$239,234) or more, and own vehicles. But they cannot work full-time without an employment pass, the programme website shows.
People from mainland China have accounted for 30 per cent of the more than 42,000 applications approved from 2012 to 2018.
Singapore was another candidate, though prices in the tiny city state were five times higher than in Malaysia.
Hong Kong buyers were looking elsewhere in the long term because they faced prices in Hong Kong exceeding what 75 per cent of the population could afford, he said.
“They would never own a property in their entire life,” he added. “The only option is to buy somewhere else.”
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More Hongkongers turn to Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) Initiative as Protests Escalate.
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Published: 21st August 2019.