KUCHING: The Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme in the tourism ministry is temporarily frozen for review and improvement by the federal government, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Nancy Shukri.
MM2H is a programme that allows foreigners to stay in Malaysia for 10 years.
Earlier, it was reported that the MM2H centre in the tourism ministry had been closed “until further notice” amid talk that 90% of applications for the programme had been rejected.
However, Nancy, in a press conference today, said Putrajaya is currently reviewing all the activities and processes involved in the approvals for the programme.
“During the movement control order (MCO), we discovered that a lot can be done by the federal government to improve this programme.
“The Immigration Department is taking another look at the process. The ministry is also involved in the study and we’re targeting to get everything done by December.
“It’s not a permanent closure because it is for the good of our country’s economy.
“We are not going to close the MM2H,” she said after a walkabout programme at the songket and keringkam gallery here today.
Although the MM2H programme is frozen in the peninsula, Sarawak has its own immigration and land policies.
Tourism tax for Sarawak
On another matter, Sarawak’s Tourism Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said tourism tax had been suspended temporarily until further notice as part of the government’s efforts to promote tourism.
“The tourism tax increases hotel rates by RM10 per night,” he said.
Nancy said every state is given the tourism tax so that visitors would be able to enjoy modern and safer public facilities.
Sarawak had received a total of RM2.65 million in tourism tax for 2018 last year.
Earlier, Nancy also urged the state government to promote Sarawak’s songket and keringkam among the people.
The keringkam is a gold thread embroidery, commonly used for veils and worn by Sarawak Malays for weddings, special occasions and cultural festivals.
“We can see that a lot can be done in terms of promotion of local products, especially the songket and keringkam by the state government.
“We are here to promote local tourism and it’s not just about going or travelling somewhere. Visitors must also have something to bring home (as souvenirs) and in this case the songket and keringkam.
“These products are very scarce and cannot be found easily.
“We need to encourage our young people to be involved (in songket and keringkam) so that the future generations will be able to reproduce these products and even come up with new designs,” she said.