Sarawak M2H

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Old Dec 29th 2017, 6:48 am
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Default Sarawak M2H

Hi fellow MM2H'ers,

I'm an American-in-exile (yoiks!), settling down in the easy-going and beautiful riverside town of Kuching and am just about done with my processing in the Sarawak version of the Malaysia My Second Home Program.

My processing seem to have taken about a 2 weeks from first submission to receiving my "Surat Akuan Penerimaan" (Letter of Acceptance). Things here are different than on the Peninsula in terms of financial requirements and the paperwork. Or as they say "sama sama, tidak sama sama" ("the same but not the same"). Why the difference? Well Sarawak and Sabah were separate "states" when they joined with the Malay States, to form Malaysia. They keep their own civil service, including immigration, and also limit Peninsular Malaysians from working easily on this side of the Strait.

First off, there are no "agents" allowed (supposedly). The Ministry of Tourism Sarawak is supposed to act as the intermediary instead. One can get all the forms to apply on their site. Second the program is really a "retirement program" for those 50 years or older (there are some exceptions to this re spouses, children and those on medical treatment). So no above 50/under 50 differences.

There are two ways to financially qualify 1) Off-shore income/pension (RM7000 single; RM 10,000 couples). For singles it's cheaper. OR 2) Fixed deposit in Malaysian bank (RM100,000 single; RM150,000 couples). RM 40,000 (single) or RM 90,000 (couple) can be withdrawn for purchase of car, educational expenses, health expenses. Only RM60,000 need to be retained in the Fixed account (vs. RM 100,000-150,000 on the Peninsula).

You must be sponsored by a Sarawakian Malaysian...no agents. This means that the Personal bond must be sworn to by a Sarawakian. On the Peninsula the bond is usually paid to the agent who makes the affirmation. Unless you set up some sort of legal arrangement with your sponsor there is no payment of bond, hence not refundable. Promissary Bonds differ by country (USA RM2000 vs. Vietnam RM 150...I have no clue as to why they are set the way they are). All we required for this form was the stamp duty from the Inland Revenue Board (Hasil) for RM10 and a Sarawakian witness.

I first tried submitting my application directly to the Ministry of Tourism (aka the "One-Stop Agency"). It turned out that it was not so "one stop" as the fellow there pointed out a number of things needed to be certified. However I did notice that there was a document that he was consulting that was different from the one that was published on the Ministry of Tourism web site. It showed that one could simply take all the completed documents directly to immigration. Henceforth I did that, skipping the Ministry of Tourism entirely.

Sarawak does NOT require a Statement of Good Conduct from your countries police...at least not for US citizens.

My only two real hassles at immigration were
1) they don't know the State specific regulations very well. They initially said I didn't qualify for the pension "track" because my pension didn't quite reach RM10,000. I pointed out that I was single and the staff had a confab of 15 minutes looking over their computers. I looked through my file and pulled out the print-out showing that Singles only need RM7000. They argued it was "old"...but I asked them to look at the SARAWAK State web site (they had been going to the Malaysian MM2H site it turns out).

Turns out that this happened a second visit when I got a different lad at the front counter. It turns out that the RM7000 for singles is specifically stated on the last page of the application form, as well.

2) The Medical Report. There is a long list of "self-reporting" of illnesses and conditions than one is supposed to affirm you have not had (or have). Then there is the doctors section which is a Medical Check up. My first doctor gave me a blood-pressure test, checked my reflexes, and I thought this was enough. RM20 (yes, cheap!). Immigration said "this is not a real check-up". I pointed out nowhere on the form did it state what was expected...but they want a blood test, urine test and chest X-Ray...all done in Sarawak. I found a clinic that offered these for RM155 although I did have to make a separate trip to get the chest X-Ray. (Note: there are some "diagnostic" clinics offering "full check-ups" with a discount coupon that lack a physician. These are not sufficient in Sarawak.).

3) The Medical Report has to be certified ("chopped" with a stamp) by a Commissioner of Oaths in Sarawak. Also required to be certified:
a) Your passport (details page and all stamped pages)...only the first page needs the stamp. If your passport is less than one year old...your old passport/stamped pages.
b) Certified copy of sponsors ID (MyKAD) card.
c) Certified copy of latest 3 months pension warrants (this is fuzzy, some say that a print-out is sufficient, but my warrants were in black-and-white, with no color printing) OR Certified copy of Fixed Deposit statement of bank/financial institution in Malaysia.
d) Certified Medical Report.
e) Certified copy of Marriage Certificate (if necessary)
f) Certified copy of Birth Certificates of Children/Record of Adoption. (if necessary)

Foreign originating documents are supposed to be notarized in the home country.

But for my passport and statements of income the Commission of Oaths (who is also a lawyer) wrote up a document of personal affirmation of authenticity for me to swear to and chopped that. I also only had the photostat of my sponsors MyKad, which was added to the list. That seems to work for immigration.

So the big package was delivered to immigration and they handed (at immigration) me a "Surat Akuan Penerimaan" (Acceptance Letter) and verbally told me that my sponsor and I would be interviewed in two weeks.

One question. Is this the "Conditional Acceptance Letter"? There is no listing of fees or other items that will need to be paid. At the bottom of the print-out it says "Mohon pls 06 Bulan seberang pertanyaan sila hubungi" and "Keputusan akan diketahui slepas 30 Hari bekerja". The first appears to be the 6 month requirement to acquire the visa. The second appears to be the date when actual acceptance will occur.
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Old Jan 3rd 2018, 4:40 pm
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Default Re: Sarawak M2H

Don't do this though...

‘Peninsula vehicles prohibited to renew road tax in Sarawak, Sabah’ – BorneoPost Online | Borneo , Malaysia, Sarawak Daily News | Largest English Daily In Borneo
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Old Jan 5th 2018, 8:24 pm
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We are interested in Sarawak or Sabah as well...How did you go about "acquiring" a sponsor ?
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Old Jan 7th 2018, 12:04 pm
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Default Re: Sarawak M2H

I had a Sarawak local sponsor me.

Looking at the program I can see this does pose a major issue for those that wish to apply since they do not allow agents to receive the bond. I think that they may have thought it easier and less expensive if they eliminated agents...but they left the bond element in. So unless you have a sponsor that is willing to "trust" you then it undermines the success of the program.

I don't know if a "sponsor" can have the applicant place money in some sort of refundable account - but without guidance or structure this seems problematical. Plus getting lawyers and contracts involved for each individual applicant/sponsor pair seems problematical.

One possibility is that the landlord could include this in the "refundable deposit" for renting. Or that it could go into a separate fixed deposit account refundable only when the individual is leaving the program.

I've been trying to find the particulars of the Sabah program, but all I see are agents promoting their services with fairly sizeable fees.

I'll try and point this out to people in the Sarawak Tourism Department and that it suppresses not only applications, but successful applications.
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Old Jan 22nd 2018, 3:48 pm
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Default Re: Sarawak M2H

I'm interested to hear details once the interview of you and your sponsor is concluded with immigration. Is the interview a formality or does it factor into the visa approval decision?
Has your visa been approved? Also, if you recommend them, please provide contact info for the medical clinic and for the lawyer/Commissioner of Oaths that you used.
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Old Jan 22nd 2018, 4:01 pm
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With the government pension option gone and the FD set to go through the roof for mm2h on the Peninsula it would seem that the only hope for those wishing to retire in Malaysia will be Sabah or Sarawak...
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Old Jan 23rd 2018, 2:53 am
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Default Re: Sarawak M2H

It turns out that only my sponsor was actually interviewed Thursday the 11th. She told me it was a bit odd...more like trying to find out if it was about a marriage (she is already married to a friend). It comprised things about my job, length of time she knew me, whether I was going into business, etc. Despite this the interviewer told her it was a "formality". Turned out that the interviewer was supposed to have her sign some document and forgot to get her to sign it. She was called on Friday and then went back to sign it on the following Monday. Now it must go through the "committee". So still waiting. I'm going to inquire with them on Wednesday.

Because I'm on the "pension option" I don't need to establish a fixed account. I asked the Sarawak MM2H "One-Stop" office if they would issue me a letter to establish a bank account. It was written in Malay. Turns out it was for the "Fixed Account". Banks were more than willing to take a RM150K fixed account. I inquired "if I get a fixed account can I establish a regular checking account" - CIMB said no...even with a fixed account. I surveyed seven different banks and found that CIMB, RHB, and Standard Chartered would accept Fixed Account but not a savings/checking account. HSBC said they would once I got approval, but it would take several weeks. Public Bank seemed the best. They said that once approved I could establish a local account without a fixed account.

I used Kang Clinic, on Jl. Song Tiang Cheok (just down from the Cat statue next to McDonalds in the downtown hoteal/banking section of Kuching) but any clinic will do provided the do a full check- radiograph, blood, urine test (not just a superficial check or by a diagnostic clinic without a doctor).

Commissioner of oaths and lawyer was actually the same person. Cost was minimal. RM4 for every package or type of document...thus passport was RM4 for all pages. I recall that I paid RM10 for the statement that I swore the US documents were "true copies". Everything was covered for RM40. I used Chong Brothers Advocates on Jl. Petanak mainly because it's across the street from the Riverine Condominiums.

According to the Sarawak MM2H they are waiving the "agents" requirement and there are now four "approved" agents for Sarawak MM2H (see the MALAYSIAN MM2H official government site). I've contacted them but they are very unclear about their charges. Remember that you have bargaining chips...you can do it alone or through the Sarawak Ministry of Tourism (provided you can find a local sponsor). I've inquired of the Sarawak Ministry of Tourism if a rental or sales agent would be allowed to act as a local sponsor. They said that this was "up to Immigration". I'll make that inquiry when I get my letter and/visa.
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Old Jan 23rd 2018, 3:07 am
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Default Re: Sarawak M2H

Originally Posted by rogerluli View Post
With the government pension option gone and the FD set to go through the roof for mm2h on the Peninsula it would seem that the only hope for those wishing to retire in Malaysia will be Sabah or Sarawak...
Re. Pension option...Is this true? I haven't seen this posted on the official Malaysian MM2H site.

That said...the Sarawak program have several advantages.

1) One doesn't have to prove substantial offshore liquid assets. Simply the RM7000 (Singles) or RM10,000 (Couples) offshore income/government pension. They seem more flexible as to whether that is a government or other source of income, too.
2) FD option requirement is much lower. RM100K for single, RM150K for couples with opportunity to withdraw RM 40K (single), RM 90K (couples) for approved expenses.
3)If you do opt to buy property the minimum is much lower than other states (RM300K)
4) And you get a multi-entry visa for Malaysia and Sarawak which allows residence anywhere else in Malaysia. I could technically rent in Penang while being enrolled in the Sarawak MM2H.

The big issue is that one needs a local sponsor and the banking issues. I'll dig deeper on that.
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Old Jan 23rd 2018, 6:34 am
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Default Re: Sarawak M2H

Originally Posted by RedApe View Post
which allows residence anywhere else in Malaysia. I could technically rent in Penang while being enrolled in the Sarawak MM2H.
Is that possible, isn't it separate immigration for Sarawak?
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Old Jan 23rd 2018, 12:34 pm
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Default Re: Sarawak M2H

Originally Posted by stepen View Post
Is that possible, isn't it separate immigration for Sarawak?
I know, it seemed strange. But the Sarawak M2H post on the www.sarawak.gov website specifically compares the differences between the two programs (mainland and Sarawak).
Point 4: "The visa issued to participants of the MM2H Sarawak programmed (sic) allows the participant to reside anywhere in Malaysia".
Vs. Peninsular Malaysia
"The visa issued to Participants of the MM2H programmed (sic) allows participants to reside anywhere in Malaysia except Sarawak."

This is one of the oddities of Sarawak being incorporated as one of four equal partners. It retained its own civil service (including immigration). You can come into Sarawak get a tourist pass good for the mainland, but if you arrive first in Malaysia you need to go through immigration again in Sarawak. Sarawak stringently maintains its "autonomy" in this regard.

That ability to stay elsewhere in Malaysia does not however mean that you are able to transfer the other benefits to the peninsula. You can't get the lower rate on property purchases. I'm not sure if you bought a mainland property if they would allow you to take the deduction from the Sarawak fixed deposit. Or if you sought medical treatment in Penang could you withdraw RM from your fixed account for that? So that could get sticky.
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Old Jan 23rd 2018, 12:53 pm
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Default Re: Sarawak M2H

Originally Posted by RedApe View Post
Re. Pension option...Is this true? I haven't seen this posted on the official Malaysian MM2H site.

That said...the Sarawak program have several advantages.

1) One doesn't have to prove substantial offshore liquid assets. Simply the RM7000 (Singles) or RM10,000 (Couples) offshore income/government pension. They seem more flexible as to whether that is a government or other source of income, too.
2) FD option requirement is much lower. RM100K for single, RM150K for couples with opportunity to withdraw RM 40K (single), RM 90K (couples) for approved expenses.
3)If you do opt to buy property the minimum is much lower than other states (RM300K)
4) And you get a multi-entry visa for Malaysia and Sarawak which allows residence anywhere else in Malaysia. I could technically rent in Penang while being enrolled in the Sarawak MM2H.

The big issue is that one needs a local sponsor and the banking issues. I'll dig deeper on that.
From the Alter Domus site..." The government pension method is not applicable anymore now."
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Old Jan 23rd 2018, 1:24 pm
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Originally Posted by rogerluli View Post
From the Alter Domus site..." The government pension method is not applicable anymore now."
The MM2H.gov.my Official Portal still has under Terms and Conditions
"(B) Aged 50 years and above

Can either choose to:
Open a fixed deposit account of RM150,000.00 ; OR
Show proof of receiving pension from government RM10,000 per month"
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Old Jan 23rd 2018, 1:37 pm
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Originally Posted by RedApe View Post
The MM2H.gov.my Official Portal still has under Terms and Conditions
"(B) Aged 50 years and above

Can either choose to:
Open a fixed deposit account of RM150,000.00 ; OR
Show proof of receiving pension from government RM10,000 per month"
According to joy-stay applicants over 50 must have...
1. Liquid assets of 350K RM
and
2. Monthly income of 10k RM
and
3. FD of 150K RM

I tend to think the agents have the most reliable, current information but I may be wrong...
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Old Jan 23rd 2018, 11:33 pm
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Default Re: Sarawak M2H

When my husband and I applied for the MM2H on Peninsula in 2004, the requirements were exactly that of Sarawak. Easy, straight forward at Immigration in Butterworth. Unfortunately, the peninsula side has kept changing and increasing the monetary amounts over the years. I guess more people applied on the Peninsula and there were some people who tried to beat the system thus the Ministry started to require Letter of Good Conduct, less withdrawal from the FD, more liquid assets etc as we see it today. Hope the Sarawak MM2H program would not follow that of the Peninsula eventually.

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Old Feb 1st 2018, 9:15 am
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Update 2/1/2018

Visa Received. Time elapsed: 2 months...probably could have been shorter but I waited a couple of weeks to submit and the X'mas and New Years holidays intervened)

Here's the thing. Despite what is said on all web sites about Sarawak M2H the Immigration Department only will give you a FIVE YEAR Multi-Entry Renewable Visa. NOT 10-Years. I grumbled, griped, argued that the Peninsula offers 10 Years, that it was "bad for the Sarawak M2H program".
I showed them the actual highlighted printouts from the Sarawak M2H program.
I asked for the "higher ups" and a physical statement of Immigrations policy.
I pointed out that "why would anyone invest in buying property or a car" if only Five Years, etc, etc. etc.

I really tried. To no avail. The rationale seems to be that they want a second health examination for checking for communicable diseases or drug addiction. I suggested that a "Five Year Health Inspection" could be made a stipulation as part of the "Conditional Letter". No go.

The headmistress of Immigration (I did get the higher up with three level of military bars across her uniform) never did show me the written "policy" but she did say that the "renewal is a formality" and "we've never rejected a renewal". But it's FIVE YEARS and shall be as surely as the stars and sun circle the Earth :

At the end of our discussion. Which also covered agents, sponsors, banks, etc. She basically gave me an ultimatum. "Do you want us to issue the visa or not?"

The OPTIONS: Immigration did not hassle me about having to get a Fixed Deposit Account this time. I had come armed with all the print outs from the MoTourism and their own application forms showing that I met the requirements for the SINGLE Retirement Pension Option (RM7000 per month).

Costs: Well besides the Medical Tests (@RM170), the Bond Stamping Fee (RM10), the Commissioner of Oaths chops (RM45) and all the Ubering about for interviews and meetings and submissions the actual Visa cost was RM986.
Broken Down it ran...

Visa Multiple Entry RM30 + Visa Single Entry RM6 - I came in on a tourist visa. These were described to me as being for the Journey Performed Visa, but see below.
Five Year Multi-Entry PLS(B) Social Visa - RM450 (RM90/year)

Bayaran Proces JP - RM500...the clerk described this as a "processing fee" but from what I've read here I suspect this is actually the "Journey Performed" Fee. I asked if I would be hit with this upon reapplication and they said "no" provided I applied before my passport/visa expired because I would have a legal visa.

Total Cost of Visa Fees = RM986.00

Oh, plus some gift packages for my sponsor!

Next week off to get my bank accounts.
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