MM2H Program in a limbo ???

Old Aug 29th 2020, 9:17 am
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Default Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???

Well I'm not a family of two...I'm a single. And everything is relative to how one expects to live. I eat out most nights but not at Western fast-food places or fancy white table cloth restaurants. I go to a koptiam or food court, eat locally. Beer or spirits will really dig into your budget I've found. But the cost of everything is about the same as in the Peninsula.

But I live in a penthouse 3 BR/2 Bath condo fully furnished with a great view over the river and out to the coast with cool breeze in the evening (which cuts down on AirCon [I mainly use the fan]). It's in the downtown tourist district so I don't have to use taxis to get to the waterfront where there (used to be) free entertainment almost every night. My Condo is RM2500/month, Similar ones on lower floors are RM2000/month. Similarly nice views of the fishing boats coming in and out, night fishermen, dragon boat racers training for the regatta, forest and mangrove extending off to the coast. Some condos outside the city centre and closer to the airport are as low as RM1600. Electricity (for me) is about RM100/month, water RM4.25. Trash, security, etc. is included in the bill.

Like Penang there is a bit of colonial element...the legacy of the White Rajah's. There are cooler hills with a golf course...something like the Cameron Highlands but without the plantations. Lot's of limestone mountains surrounding the city (something like Ipoh). And some resorts about a half hour away on the coast at Santubong/Damai.

I think big budget items (cars, computers, large appliances) are about 5% more expensive than on the Peninsula because of cabotage. Things have to be sent to Klang first to clear customs and pay duties, then shipped again to Sarawak...even though Sarawak is often en route from China and Japan. Sarawak is trying to get rid of that, with some resistance by local shippers.

Healthcare. I haven't heard too many complaints. For simple ailments I have used clinics with competent, English speaking doctors trained abroad. These are everywhere in the big cities. The problem is getting health care in the rural areas which are sometimes remote and at the end of lumber roads. For those folks they need a "flying doctor" scheme...maybe even a flying hospital.

Consultations are just a pittance, with most medications vastly cheaper than the USA (where they are extremely overpriced, admittedly). I haven't really looked at the Health care schemes that AXA, Prudential,Tokio Marine, Manulife, Zurich or the other carriers have. I'm on a scheme through my Pension plan that reimburses me for medical/scrips above a certain amount. But all the insurance companies have offices here. One can shop around for the best deal for local treatment plans. Sarawak MM2H seems not to require insurance...no one I know has been asked about their coverage.

There are about a half dozen private specialty clinics and hospitals in Kuching as Sarawak serves as a hub for Health Tourism for the wealthier in Kalimantan. Normah Medical Centre, Borneo Medical Centre, Kuching Specialist Hospital, Timberland Medical Center, KPJ Kuching, and the Sarawak Heart Center. Some of these have physicians that rotate with Peninsular hospitals of the same name. There's been talk of putting in a Medical School with a focus on gerontology, cancer, and possibly tropical medicine (an ageing population, with a unique form of oesophageal cancer that afflicts the population, and obviously the need for people good at dealing with tropical contagions). I know a guy that got knee replacement surgery and was up and rehabilitating within a week. Cost was very low compared to the West.

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Old Aug 29th 2020, 1:15 pm
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Default Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???

Originally Posted by RedApe View Post
Electricity (for me) is about RM100/month
Wow, that is quite a lot. How much you pay for the kWh over there? On the peninsula it is just 0.22 RM (for the first 200 kWh every month).
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Old Aug 29th 2020, 11:21 pm
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Default Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???

Hi RedApe - Very informative post! Just wondering what made you choose Sarawak over Sabah. I did prefer Sarawak but wondered if it might be too quiet compared to Sabah - but maybe that's a good thing. Is it possible to fly direct from Kuching to KL?
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Old Aug 30th 2020, 8:06 am
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Default Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???

Originally Posted by eCdD View Post
Wow, that is quite a lot. How much you pay for the kWh over there? On the peninsula it is just 0.22 RM (for the first 200 kWh every month).
Not much different 0.203 kWh...after a 23% S'wak and 2% federal discount. I use my computer A LOT...research and writing.

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Old Aug 30th 2020, 8:39 am
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Default Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???

Originally Posted by Fenella View Post
Hi RedApe - Very informative post! Just wondering what made you choose Sarawak over Sabah. I did prefer Sarawak but wondered if it might be too quiet compared to Sabah - but maybe that's a good thing. Is it possible to fly direct from Kuching to KL?
Well the Sabah program had the Peninsular asset proofs and didn't have a single applicant option. I was right at the cut off point for RM10,000 for pension for Sabah. I didn't want to trigger my Social Security to push my income level up...so Sarawak seemed the "safer option" - I only had to show RM7000 as a single applicant. As well, I had insurance that reimburses my health care cost but wasn't sure if Sabah would insist of buying a local insurance plan. Sarawak seemed not to care about the insurance provision. Nor did they demand a police background check. Not sure if they are just selective about this.

I also have a penchant for history, archeology and caving and knew more people in the Sarawak Museum. I didn't know anyone in the Sabah Museum or within academia there.

I like the "historical" elements of Sarawak...KK and all the other towns in Sabah are most WW2...the train, the clocktower, and a church in Sandakan are all that exists of pre-WW2 British N. Borneo Co. monuments. Everything else was bombed flat by the Allies or torn down and shipped off by the Japanese, or when under the bulldozer in the postwar development schemes.

That said the spectacular scenery, diving (better than Sarawak), and diversity of wildlife is better. But tourism is more expensive...park fees higher, chalets and even dorms in the parks quite expensive...all privatised. Sarawak also seems to not rely so much on non-Sarawakians for labor, Sabah has so many Phulipinno workers doing every menial task. And they are viewed as a threat. Here those sorts of jobs are spread more evenly amongst youths of all groups and the even distribution of Chinese, Dayak and Malays has required them to find mutual identity as Sarawakians. I don't pick that up as much in Sabah.

Lastly someone said that Sabah was requiring people to use agents and to buy property. I was unable to get a straight answer on that...I didn't want to lock myself into those requirements. There was no official website and no one in tourism seemed to know the rules or who to speak to. And the agents (which do have websites) always said "you have to go through us and get a property". I felt like I was being led around the jewellery shops of Bangkok....

Low crime, no threat of Abu Sayaff (not that it's a real danger unless one is very unlucky).

So ultimately I opted for Sarawak. Others may feel different especially if they want beaches, diving, somewhat better flight links (KK had many direct international flights - Singapore, Manila, China, Bangkok, and I think one to Australia, before the Covid-19 disruption). Some were saying that Sabah was getting overrun with rude and ill-behaved Chinese package tourists.

I WAS considering splitting time over there, though. Just not my base.
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Old Aug 30th 2020, 2:12 pm
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Default Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???

Originally Posted by eCdD View Post
Wow, that is quite a lot. How much you pay for the kWh over there? On the peninsula it is just 0.22 RM (for the first 200 kWh every month).
Once you start using your AC you will easily go over this 200 kWh and then it starts to go up quickly. Both the price per kWh as well as your monthly bill. Which makes it indeed difficult to predict how much somebody else will be paying in electricity. My monthly electricity bill was on average about 150~160 RM/month, but these days is electricity subsidized due to Covid and therefore a bit cheaper.
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Old Aug 30th 2020, 7:19 pm
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Default Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???

Originally Posted by RedApe View Post
Not much different 0.203 kWh...after a 23% S'wak and 2% federal discount. I use my computer A LOT...research and writing.
You might not know that meanwhile in good olde Europe 1 kWh costs 1.60 RM. Not in France of cause, but in the other countries. It doubled after I left in 2012.

Originally Posted by Fenella View Post
Hi RedApe - Very informative post! Just wondering what made you choose Sarawak over Sabah. I did prefer Sarawak but wondered if it might be too quiet compared to Sabah - but maybe that's a good thing. Is it possible to fly direct from Kuching to KL?
For me Kuching feels more "active" than KK, both are buzzling cities anyway. All other cities except these too might be too quiet. OK, Miri is not quiet at all, but not too much will consider this option.

Originally Posted by SushiFan View Post
Once you start using your AC you will easily go over this 200 kWh and then it starts to go up quickly. Both the price per kWh as well as your monthly bill. Which makes it indeed difficult to predict how much somebody else will be paying in electricity. My monthly electricity bill was on average about 150~160 RM/month, but these days is electricity subsidized due to Covid and therefore a bit cheaper
That is probably the point. I bought electricity saving inverters and even we have them in all rooms, we usually only use the one in the sleeping room. As soon as the kids finally move to the kids when (WHEN???) the electricity costs will explode for sure
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Old Aug 30th 2020, 11:20 pm
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Default Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???

Originally Posted by eCdD View Post
I bought electricity saving inverters and even we have them in all rooms, we usually only use the one in the sleeping room. As soon as the kids finally move to the kids when (WHEN???) the electricity costs will explode for sure
Just a kind reminder that discussion about cost of living in Sarawak and electricity cost is off topic for "Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???" and it better suited to be in different treads.
It is easy to deviate from a subject...
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Old Sep 4th 2020, 9:54 am
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Default Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???

Meanwhile, in today's newspaper:
KUCHING: The Sarawak-Malaysia My Second Home (S-MM2H) programme will not be affected by the suspension of the federal government’s Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, the state’s tourism, arts, culture, youth and sports minister said today. Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said his ministry will continue to open up the S-MM2H programme, aimed at attracting visitors to stay long-term in the state, to those interested. “They are welcome to apply for the S-MM2H programme through my ministry, by abiding with the new enhanced regulations and requirements effective Sept 1,” he said at a press conference here. ...
https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/ca...says-minister/
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Old Sep 4th 2020, 3:46 pm
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Default Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???

Originally Posted by SushiFan View Post
Just wanted to raise this to people's attention, as someone with mm2h, any increase in the requirements to attain mm2h is going to be pointless, I'll prefer to just move to Dubai

https://english-alarabiya-net.cdn.am...ity-explained-
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Old Sep 4th 2020, 7:29 pm
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Default Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???

If they double the fixed deposit requirements, Sarawak will become attractive as long as its requirement remains the same as today.
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Old Sep 5th 2020, 12:31 am
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Thumbs down Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???

Originally Posted by GreenState View Post
If they double the fixed deposit requirements, Sarawak will become attractive as long as its requirement remains the same as today.

I've posted on another separate page the new requirements. Mind you, the reform's supposed intent was to INCREASE participation and to attract new applicants and to reduce the paperwork to make it more efficient (for who? Immigration or the Applicant?) . It was NOT to reduce participation (which is about a dismal 1-2% of the Federal program) or to make it "more exclusive". One would think they'd roll out a whole new set of benefits.

So what have they done?

They've increased the FD requirements to twice what they were before. That doesn't make the program "more affordable". There doesn't appear to be any increase in allowed withdrawals so that money is not going to leave the account to help the local economy. It's simple "parked" for the duration of the visa. In addition, since the recipient cannot touch this saving it leaves them with a smaller liquid amount of savings to use for other items. They have to economize and budget. This lowers spending on tourism, local entertainment, household employees, etc. My rating

Increasing the "minimum amount of the residential house purchase has also been increased from RM350,000 to RM600,000 for Kuching division and from RM300,000 to RM500,000 for other divisions in Sarawak." While most applicants to SMM2H don't but condos or homes, this increase can hardly be seen as something that will attract MORE applicants.Ot doesn't even increase the number of "quality" high-end applicants. Anyone that wanted to buy a >Rm600,000 property could ALREADY do so under the old program. This requirement simply prices people out of buying more affordable property. If the real estate community thought this regulation would benefit them the needed to discuss the idea with someone with better business acumen.

"“(There is also an) establishment of a one-stop panel comprising of multiple government agencies to approve S-MM2H applications. This will ensure that all applications are processed and approved promptly and efficiently.”

I'm not sure where such a panel would make things more
efficient. Sarawak already had a turnover time of 1-2 months from submission to acceptance. The only real delay was the time needed to arrange an interview the local Sarawakian Sponsor. Cut out the Sponsor and one would reduce the waiting time even further. In addition FINDING a Sarawakian sponsor who was to vouch for the applicants financial and moral fitness for the SMM2H seemed to be the biggest impediment to applications. It doesn't appear they have touched the SPONSORSHIP requirement...but they have MONETIZED it...they are now allowing AGENTS (who will receive a payment to find a sponsor). How that would add any layer of assurance that the applicant was a "good guy" (or gal) puzzles me. The sponsor is simply bought and is more often than not going to be a complete stranger. In some way agents serve a positive role if they are trained and bound to a code of ethics...and actually help confused people with the paperwork. They could also publicize the program. There was no mention of any promotional package to promote the SMM2H program...perhaps they expect the Agents to do all the footwork.

But an on-line application process, preview of the application, a preliminary approval...and submission of documents/fees on one short visit would be a much more beneficial method of cutting through red tape and reducing time to acceptance. Suggested but they haven't done that.

Requirement the security bond "up front". This was not a requirement before and would be a way of ensuring "good behavior" by an applicant so they would not commit a crime or violate the terms of the visa. It's a new requirement and doesn't make the program more attractive . If it had been substituted in lieu of having a sponsor then it would have been a tangible benefit. Suggested, but didn't happen. One also now has to submit a Letter of Good Conduct...a bit of extra bureaucracy and cost that didn't exist before. But if this and a bond is required why doe one need a sponsor?

Another new REQUIREMENT (again not a benefit). "All S-MM2H pass holders need to stay a minimum of 15 days per year in the state to qualify them for a renewal of S-MM2H pass after five years,." This doesn't appear to be too onerous of a requirement IF the person can bundle the two-and-a-half months together...rather than have to make a trip to Sarawak each and every year. It would generate tourism income for Sarawak, so in that regard it's a plus. Still it is not a benefit that would ATTRACT people to the program. with a 1/2 thumbs down

They will now require one purchase health insurance for self and dependents - previously people paid over-the-counter . One will, have to spend time shopping for a good policy that qualifies to their standards. That means more time. Less efficiency to the application process.

They will now allow parents and single children up to age 21 to be dependents. They don't mention if students attending a local school will still be required to drop their MM2H Dependent Visa and apply for and pay for a Student Visa.

Lastly they have lowered the application age to 40. Ahhhh...but there is a catch. Applicants between 40-50 must FIRST purchase a property valued at RM600,000 and above. They cannot rent. This will increase the paperwork and time to acceptance. .Because of the Property purchase requirement (which wasn't even a part of the West Malaysian MM2H so is not attractive vis-a-vis that program) I rate this as a I'm not too sure of who this is targeted at. People in that age bracket generally have to still work and since one cannot work in Sarawak it means buying a house or condo and not living there. Maybe the provision to allow the parents or kids to live there while the parent(s) work outside will attract some unusual cases? But there is only a year-to-year visa for dependents and the SMM2H has a five year term. Is that enough of an assurance to get people to buy property?

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Old Sep 5th 2020, 12:31 am
  #58  
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Default Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???

So IMHO overall their "reforms" has taken a difficult program to apply for and made it less attractive. 7.5 One and two

No real benefits that would improve the program, it appears they have
a) retained the 5 year visa term (the West Malaysia program offered 10),
b) did not make any changes regarding a possible part-time work or investment benefit
c) did not create a card for the program to obtain discounts
d) did not make it easier to get a DL or transfer the out of country DL to in country

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Old Sep 5th 2020, 1:00 am
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Default Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???

RedApe,
Thanks for the very useful information on the Sarawak MM2H program.
I never know that the SMM2H visa is only for 5 years. However, it's still a good duration.
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Old Sep 5th 2020, 3:54 am
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Default Re: MM2H Program in a limbo ???

RedApe, thank you for giving an overview of the details of the SMM2H program. I don't think I would apply for this program.
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