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Malaysia offers Saudis MM2H program

JEDDAH: More and more foreigners are now making use of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program as over 20,000 expatriates have settled in the Southeast Asian country since its launch 10 years ago, said Malaysian Consul General Mohammed Khalid Abbasi Abdul Razak. He called on Saudis to consider this impressive program, saying it is affordable and worthwhile.
“The government has approved 2,387 MM2H applications in 2011, and last year it had targeted 3,000 approvals,” Razak said while giving his keynote speech at an MM2H seminar here Sunday that was attended by representatives of travel agencies, airlines, businesses and the media.
He said Malaysia’s warm climate, political stability and modern economy were attracting more foreigners to settle in the country.
“With the re-branding of the MM2H since 2009, the new direction of the program is to attract not only foreigners looking to stay long-term or retire in Malaysia, but also high net-worth individuals looking to invest in Malaysia, either by setting up their business or by partnering with Malaysian entrepreneurs,” he explained.
Malaysia is placed third, after Ecuador and Panama, on a list of 22 “World's Top Retirement Havens in 2013” by the travel Web magazine, Internationalliving.com.
The list was compiled based on a survey on several factors affecting retirees in each country including real estate prices, special benefits and infrastructure for retirees, overall cost of living, medical and health facilities and climate.
The e-magazine described Malaysia as Asia's most desirable destination “having everything” from its tropical weather of 27°C all year round and its pristine beaches, islands and jungles. It has some of the region's best street food, great restaurants, bars, shopping malls and movie theaters and prices are affordable. “Malaysia is an easy place for expatriates to make friends, as English is widely spoken while having the state of the art and medical centers of excellence,” Razak said, quoting the magazine.
The seminar was organized by Tourism Malaysia office in Jeddah to educate Saudis as well as foreign workers in the Kingdom about MM2H program and its incentives.
MM2H is a government-endorsed program introduced in 2002 specifically to attract foreigners wishing to live a meaningful and affordable life in Malaysia for extended periods. Participants of the program are given a social visit pass and multiple-entry visa from the Malaysian Immigration Department, which is good for 10 years and is renewable.
“Both documents give MM2H participants the freedom to enter and leave Malaysia whenever they wish with special green lane at the airport. Among the incentives are house and car purchases and tax exemption on pensions and foreign income brought into the country. It also enables their children to study in the best international schools in Malaysia,” he said.
“We have been receiving quite a number of Middle East participants in this program,” said the consul general. In 2011, MM2H participants from the Middle East reached 327. As for 2012 until month of September, the figures have already reached 210 participants from the Middle East.
Razak announced that beginning March, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) would be operating daily flights on Jeddah-Kuala Lumpur sector. MAS also will be offering special tourism packages.

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