Sarawak’s MM2H holders’ ‘open appeal letter’ to the Premier

Photo taken by the columnist in Limbang shows foreigners trying out durian.

IN September 2020, the Sarawak state government made changes to its own set of criteria by improving new regulations and requirements such as adjusting and lowering the age group for Sarawak’s Malaysia My Second Home Programme (S-MM2H), according to the minister in charge of it, Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

The MM2H began in 1996, with the then-named ‘Silver-Haired Programme’, as a long-term visa for retirees wishing to make Sarawak (and Malaysia) their second home. It was subject to a 10-year term with a five-year renewal mid-term, and the eligible age was 50.

This programme saw a revamp and was relaunched as MM2H in 2002, with Sarawak starting it in January 2007. Up till September 2021, there were 1,306 participants in the Sarawak programme – the Top 5 amongst all participants were the nationals of the UK, China, Taiwan, Indonesia and Singapore.

A rather sizeable group of current holders of S-MM2H have been facing issues and problems with getting their current visas under this programme either renewed or extended by the authorities. They are current holders who have been here for a great many years; there is a case of one holder still waiting for his news after 10 months of no-response.

New applicants too are encountering issues of delay which, in turn, disheartens them as they could neither open new bank accounts nor purchase properties and confirm educational arrangements for members of their families.

Excuses being heard and/or given range from ‘shortage of staff handling these cases’ to ‘passing the buck of superiors or those in authority not being available’ – and so forth.

An appeal was made to me personally for an ‘open letter’. which had been drafted to the authorities (it is addressed to the Premier of Sarawak, as he obviously has the final say) to be included in my column this week, and I do so happily as I have always supported the concept and the principle of making S-MM2H a huge success for my beloved country Sarawak.

Over the years, I have personally being a ‘sponsor’ and a big promoter of this programme, which I view as totally advantageous to Sarawak, as it ultimately promotes tourism to a greater market, as well as enhance the way of life of our own citizens, and benefits the local economy greatly and in so many ways.

I have made many friends personally too – from a German industrialist (an early content creator on the Internet), a Norwegian cab-driver, Australian researcher/academician, to a Dutch/Scottish writer and an English engineer – and so many others, professionals like doctors and lawyers, and retired business people too.

The list is long, and the benefits that they have brought to Sarawak over the years have been immeasurable.

I have vetted through the appeal letter and am reproducing it verbatim in total; it goes:

“An Open Letter to the Premier of Sarawak:

“On behalf of a number of retired S-MM2H Visa holders who have been here (many for decades) – at whom the programme was originally targeted; we would like to humbly appeal to your esteemed office.

“We are all retirees over 60 years of age and we live and intend to live the rest of our days in Kuching (and other parts of Sarawak). We live in and around Kuching (some elsewhere in Sarawak) all throughout the year and spend approximately RM10,000 per family here each and every month. (FYI, new terms only require applicants to reside here for a minimum of 30 days in a year.)

“We have all already purchased properties and vehicles with our money brought into the country – our small contribution to the local economy.

“We pay for all our own healthcare costs at local doctor’s clinics and private hospitals; thereby, costing the state government nothing.

“None of us have any criminal record nor have committed the slightest law-breaking or have ever being arrested, charged or sued.

“We are all happily settled down here and love Sarawak very much – the very friendly people, your social harmony and the political stability are greatly lauded.


“It would be most tragic and grossly unfair if we were denied further S-MM2H visas when, despite fulfilling all requirements previously over so many years, we now find ourselves unable to comply with recently newly-imposed onerous conditions.

“It used to be very simple to renew our S-MM2H visa every 10 years with continued compliance with conditions current at the time; with no further additional information required – the process took about an hour.

“Now it takes many months of uncertainty and in our circumstances this can be most stressful.

“For your information, no current holder has ever committed a criminal offence here or have been expelled. We are also prepared to accept the increased annual levy of RM500.

“We therefore most respectfully urge that the Sarawak State Government recognises our full and total commitment to Sarawak and take into consideration to apply the original S-MM2H system, rules and conditions for the existing retirees, which had worked so successfully all these many years.

“I hope and pray that this open letter will be read by those who can and will make a positive and humane decision.

“On behalf of the sponsors of the open letter, I thank you for having read it. May God Bless You All.”

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