Malaysia offers Saudis MM2H program

Updated 08 January 2013
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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.


Saudi Tourism chief urges Arab countries to focus on tourism

Updated 1 min 35 sec ago
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Saudi Tourism chief urges Arab countries to focus on tourism

  • The new sites belong to the pre-Islamic and early Islam eras and were found in three provinces including Bisha, Tathlith, and Balqarn
JEDDAH: Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) called on the Arab countries to increase cooperation in the field of tourism.
Speaking at the 21st session of the Council of Arab Ministers of Tourism on Monday in Egypt, he said a vibrant tourism sector could play a huge role in creating employment opportunities in the Arab world.
Saudi Arabia, he said, is taking all measures to boost its tourism sector. The SCTH president said the recently launched tourist visa platform is part of the Kingdom’s plan to diversify its economy and promoting domestic and international tourism.
In a bid to end reliance on oil, the Kingdom is investing in tourism, aiming to increase spending by Saudis at home instead of on holidays abroad.
Encouraging visits to local places of beauty or interest is a key goal of Vision 2030 and the Kingdom has some world-class sites, some in remote areas, which are all but unknown outside the Kingdom.
The SCTH’s Asir office recently added records of 19 new archaeological sites to the National Antiquities Register.
SCTH official Mohammed Al-Umrah said the number of sites listed in the National Antiquities Register through their office in Bisha during this year has increased to 214.
The new sites belong to the pre-Islamic and early Islam eras and were found in three provinces including Bisha, Tathlith, and Balqarn.
The SCTH’s efforts to register heritage and archaeological sites to the Urban Heritage List fall under the Kingdom’s Cultural Heritage Care program that includes a system of projects and programs to develop, highlight and preserve national heritage sites.
Saudi Arabia’s five national treasures have already been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2008, including Al-Ahsa oasis, Al-Hijr archaeological site (Madain Salih), Historic Jeddah and the rock art at Hail.
The fifth site, recognized by UNESCO in 2010, is Al-Turaif Historical District, the remains of a settlement that dates back to the 15th century. Located in the northwestern outskirts of the capital, Riyadh, it is one of the Kingdom’s oldest heritage sites, though its potential was only recognized relatively recently.