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Stimulus measures gain favour Print E-mail
Sunday, 29 March 2009 18:28

MM2Hers and expats hail mini-Budget initiatives, but some expect more

The new measures for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme as well as expatriate professionals under the RM60 billion mini-Budget have been well received and even spurred them to invest in more properties, according to those contacted by NST Property.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recently announced the government will consider issuing work permits to skilled spouses of MM2Hers and offering permanent resident (PR) status to highly skilled foreign professionals as well as high nett worth individuals (HNWIs) who bring in US$2 million (RM7.28 million) for investments or savings in the country.

Stephen Hodgson from the United Kingdom, who has invested here, thinks allowing skilled spouses of MM2Hers to work in the country is great.

“As an equal opportunity employer, we welcome it as many spouses have held key management roles and are invaluable source of the knowledge, experience, training and professionalism,” said the managing director of Asia Move Machine Sdn Bhd, brand-owner of the propertrack.com portal.

“My wife and I would benefit for sure, especially when I’m abroad working offshore for weeks in a row and when our two children are at school,” noted MM2Her Bart Jacob Lunsingh Tonckens, a marine technician working offshore worldwide in the oil and gas industry.

“As a qualified laboratory analyst, my wife would love to do something useful such as working in hospitals or clinic laboratories. Not permitted to work here, she gets bored just sitting at the pool or beach or with shopping.”

Tonckens also thinks it is reasonable for HNWIs to be considered for PR status “as they won’t cost Malaysia any money but it earns money from them instead”.

The Dutchman, staying with his family at a condominium in Penang he bought for RM600,000, said the mini-Budget incentives would encourage him to invest in more properties.

Asia Move Machine’s Hodgson added the initiatives for HNWI’s is excellent as it would attract quality individuals to invest, which would benefit the economy, citing his company has also launched a UK website to promote Malaysian real estate to the British.

On highly skilled workers be considered for PR, Tonckens said he would be grateful with the status.

“I don’t take jobs away working in the type of job that I do. With PR status, it’d be easier for me to accept jobs offshore in Malaysian waters. Now, I work abroad offshore worldwide except in Malaysia.”

MM2Her Mohammed Sabsabi from Australia, who has bought a RM680,000 condo in Mont’ Kiara, Kuala Lumpur said the new initiatives reflect the country’s global insight and will help boost its competitiveness. He and his wife do not have a need to work here and they are in the country three times a year.

Another MM2Her who has been here for over 100 years, Dr Ganapathi Dhiwaghar, management consultant and senior vice president with Trans World Group Ltd of UK looking after the operations in the Middle East and India, suggests that HNWIs bring less than US$500,000, instead of US$2 million, because “Canada and Australia are offering the best investment plans with PR status and citizenship”.

Yet another MM2Her, who wished to be known as PAt, from Taiwan, asked why would people bother to bring in US$2 million for PR, when one could extend one’s stay ever 10 years under MM2H.

“What’re the incentives for being a PR here … free medical care, insured unemployment, or laid-back retirement as in most European countries?” added Pat, who together with her husband, who is working in Vietnam, bought two condos in the KL City Centre area for RM7 million cash.

The mother of two is also curious about how “highly skilled” is defined although she feels the initiative is worth encouraging.

Phan Van Truong, a Vietnam-born French citizen, said allowing skilled spouses of MM2Hers to wrok is “a real improvement” to the programme. Retired to Malaysia since 2004, the MM2Her intend to buy more properties, having purchased two.

Meanwhile, MM2H agent Malvisa (MM2H) Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Kamaruddin Abu expects Malaysia to gain in status among Asia countries to luring top notch skilled workers with its new incentives for employment and investment.

“Many who make Malaysia their second home are highly knowledgeable and skilled and permitting them to work here will encourage more people to apply for the programme. It’s good for us as they can contribute to economic development”

By Zoe Phoon

Source: New Straits Times - Property - March 27, 2009



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