Expats continue to leave Malaysia due to its hostile MM2H policies, Thailand takes over in latest ranking by Living International 


14th January 2022 – (Kuala Lumpur) Malaysia has always been one of the countries in Asia to retire for foreigners due to its affordable living. It has been consistently being named as one of the best countries in Asia to retire for a couple of years.

Due to the flipflop changes in My 2nd Home (MM2H) policies, Malaysia has dropped out from the list as the latest ranking by Living International showed that Malaysia has lost its spot to Thailand. Since 2018, Malaysia’s political landscape has changed after the country’s leading coalition collapsed and the power struggle has caused the economy and people to suffer.

The latest ranking for the year 2022 showed that Malaysia has dropped to 15th place behind Thailand.

According to Malaysia Trend, Meanwhile, the main reason that Malaysia has dropped significantly in the ranks were due to the confusing and harsh new changes made to the Malaysia My 2nd Home (MM2H) policies, according to expatriate news site Expat Go. It was reported that Malaysia had since then turned unfriendly as the new policies were imposed in the recent years under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

Here’s a list of changes to the MM2H policy made:

  • Minimum monthly income increased to RM40,000 (300% increase)
  • Minimum fixed deposit increased to RM1 million (600% increase)
  • Minimum liquidity requirement increased to RM1.5 million (400% increase)
  • Yearly visa fee increased to RM500 (600% increase)
  • Duration of MM2H visa reduced to 5 years (from 10 years)

1 USD is equivalent to RM4.18

After the criteria was announced, the government faced extreme backlash from existing expats and multiple groups, with expressing their decision to return to their country if the government implements it.

Several months later, the government has finally agreed to relax the requirements for the current participants, but the new participants are still required to follow the new policy.

Despite that, expats now no longer trust the Malaysian government, and many plan to leave the country. Potential expats had also dropped Malaysia out of their consideration to look elsewhere.

While many were unconcerned about this due to the small population of foreign expats in the country, which is less than 0.1% of the population, the truth is that this small group brings in a substantial amount of money into its local economy and attracts foreign investments.