Is Malaysia The Next Retirement Destination For Singaporeans? A Look At Recent Visa And PR Changes

Viewed by 8,698 Smart Towkays

Is Malaysia The Next Retirement Destination For Singaporeans?

Introduction: The Malaysia My Second Home Programme

The Malaysia My Second Home Programme (MM2H) is an initiative by the Malaysian government to attract foreigners to live in Malaysia on a long-term basis. This programme, launched in 2002, offers a 10-year renewable visa to foreigners who meet the programme’s eligibility criteria. The MM2H programme is open to citizens of all countries, and there are no restrictions on the age, gender, or religion of applicants.

Recently, there have been discussions about reviewing the criteria for the MM2H program. This has caused some concern among Singaporeans who are considering applying for the program. In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of the MM2H program for Singaporeans, as well as discuss the potential changes to the program's criteria.

Pros & Cons: What's It Like To Live In Malaysia

Living in Malaysia has its pros and cons, and it's important to consider both when deciding whether or not to move to the country.

On the positive side, Malaysia offers a lower cost of living compared to many other countries in the region. This means that you can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank, with affordable housing, food, and transportation options. Additionally, the favorable exchange rate between the Singapore dollar and the Malaysian ringgit makes it even more attractive for Singaporeans to live in Malaysia.

On the other hand, there are also some potential drawbacks to living in Malaysia. One of the biggest concerns for Singaporeans is the difference in healthcare standards between the two countries.

While Malaysia has made significant progress in improving its healthcare system, some Singaporeans may feel more comfortable with the standards in their home country.

It may be true to some that the education system in Malaysia may not be as highly regarded as Singapore's, and this could be a concern for families with school-aged children. This programme may anyhow stand out as as a privilege when it comes to education. You will learn more later in this article.

When moving to Malaysia, just to do proper business investment or enjoy MM2H Programme, another consideration you need to take into account is the country's political and economic stability. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the economy, and there have been some political uncertainties in recent years. This may make some Singaporeans hesitant to invest in Malaysia.

Malaysia has had its share of political upheaval over the years, which could impact the stability of the country. Additionally, the economic situation in Malaysia is not as robust as Singapore's, which could make it more challenging to find high-paying jobs or opportunities for career growth.

Overall, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully when considering a move to Malaysia. While the lower cost of living, rich culture, and proximity to Singapore are attractive, it's important to consider potential challenges such as healthcare standards and economic stability.

Benefits of MM2H Programme For Singaporeans

If you participate in the programme, you can live in Malaysia for up to 10 years, with the option to renew the visa. So, why should you consider the MM2H programme?

Also, the MM2H programme offers various tax incentives that can help you save money. For instance, you can get tax exemptions on foreign-sourced income and tax exemptions on the import of personal vehicles and household items. This can make your life in Malaysia even more affordable and enjoyable.

One of the exceptional benefits of the MM2H programme, as we mentioned before about Malaysia's education system compared to that of Singapore, however, is the education opportunities it provides.

Malaysia has its own high-quality education system, you will know more once you have done thorough research, which includes international schools and universities. If you have children, they can study at these institutions and receive an excellent education that can prepare them for the future.

Malaysia also has a low cost of living compared to many other countries. This can be a significant advantage for retirees who are looking to stretch their retirement savings. With the lower cost of living, you can enjoy a higher quality of life in Malaysia without worrying too much about expenses.

Disadvantages of MM2H Programme For Singaporeans

  • 90-Day Stay Requirement

One of the main restrictions of the MM2H programme is the requirement for visa holders to stay in Malaysia for at least 90 days per year. This can be challenging for business owners who have other commitments outside of Malaysia or who are conducting business activities outside of the country.

  • Restrictions on Business Activities

Although MM2H visa holders are allowed to set up a private limited company in Malaysia, they are not permitted to actively participate in the day-to-day running of the business. A separate work visa is required for this.

  • Inability to Work in Malaysia

MM2H visa holders are not allowed to work or be employed while in Malaysia. This can be contradictory to the above restriction on the 90-day stay requirement, as there may be concerns about what one can do during those 90 days.

Changes To MM2H Pass Criteria

The MM2H programme was previously tightened in 2021, with changes made to the financial requirements for applicants. Applicants are now required to show proof of liquid assets worth at least RM1 million (approximately S$330,000) and offshore income of at least RM40,000 (approximately S$13,000) per month. These changes were made to ensure that only high-net-worth individuals could qualify for the programme.

The Malaysian government's recent consideration to review the criteria for the MM2H programme has garnered mixed reactions from stakeholders and potential investors. While some stakeholders feel that further changes could be beneficial to the programme, others are concerned that it may negatively impact its attractiveness to foreigners.

The potential impact of further changes to the criteria is that it could revert the programme with less stringent for participants. This could make it easier for some individuals to qualify for the programme, which could impact its overall appeal to greater number of applicants hopefully.

However, some critics argue that these changes could lead to abuse of the program. They fear that the program could attract not only genuine investors and retirees but also individuals who are not genuinely interested in investing in Malaysia. This could potentially lower the integrity of the program, but it is difficult to predict the exact impact of any potential changes at this point.

One thing for certain is that we might be seeing an increase in applicants if the programme is reviewed and reflected upon the facts discussed above. For example, the programme could be targeted towards investors who are interested in technology, innovation, or green initiatives, which could benefit Malaysia's economy in the long run.

Eligibility Requirements for MM2H Programme

Currently, to be eligible for the MM2H programme, applicants must meet certain criteria. Key eligibility requirements include:

Age Below 50
Age 50 and Above
Minimum liquid assets
Minimum offshore monthly income
Fixed deposit account with a Malaysian bank
Proof of receiving pension from government
RM10,000 per month

In addition to the above, applicants are required to make a one-time personal bond payment of approximately RM2,000 (S$600) and an annual payment of RM90 (S$30) for the social pass.

How To Apply For The MM2H Programme

To apply for the MM2H programme, applicants must submit an application to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture of Malaysia. The application process can take several months, and applicants must provide detailed documentation to support their application.

You may visit the official portal of Immigration Department of Malaysia for more details on the application process.

While the financial requirements for the MM2H programme may seem steep, it is important to note that the benefits of the programme and the general low cost of living in Malaysia make it a popular choice for retirees and those seeking to spend an extended period of time in the country.


In conclusion, the MM2H Programme is a compelling option for foreigners seeking long-term residency in Malaysia. The programme provides various benefits, including tax incentives, access to Malaysia's education system, and a relaxed property ownership policy. Despite being close to Singapore, Malaysia offers a more cost-effective and less restricted investment option for foreigners.

While Singapore is known for being an ideal offshore location, it requires a significant investment, and foreigners may face challenges when purchasing property there. In contrast, Malaysia offers more ownership flexibility and allows foreigners to invest in properties worth at least one million Malaysian ringgit. However, it's important to visit the country on a tourist visa before deciding to apply for the MM2H programme.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the MM2H programme offer a pathway to obtaining permanent residency or citizenship in Malaysia?

No, it is merely a long-term visa that can be renewed for up to 10 years.

What are the laws regarding dual citizenship in Malaysia?

The federal constitution of Malaysia does not allow for dual citizenship as it may lead to abuse of privileges and responsibilities that comes with it.

How much is the Personal Bond required for the MM2H programme?

Applicants are required to place a Personal Bond of up to RM2000 (equivalent of S$600) before the visa will be issued.

What is the purpose of the Personal Bond for the MM2H programme?

The Personal Bond is a security measure to ensure that applicants do not overstay or violate any laws during their stay in Malaysia. The bond will be refunded to the applicant when they cancel their MM2H visa or when their visa expires and they leave the country.

Can I bring my family members with me under the MM2H programme?

Yes, you can bring your spouse, children below 21 years old, and parents who are above 60 years old as dependents under the MM2H programme.

What are the medical requirements for the MM2H programme?

As part of the application process, participants must undergo a medical check-up and obtain medical insurance coverage from any insurance company in Malaysia. The insurance coverage must be valid for at least one year and must cover hospitalization and outpatient treatment.

Read also: Employment Pass Eligibility: Educational Qualifications Is Required By September 2023
Read also: Employment Of Foreign Manpower Act: 7 Things You Must Know Before Hiring Foreign Worker In Singapore
Read also: A Comprehensive Guide To ONE Pass


Got a Question?

WhatsApp Us, Our Friendly Team will get back to you asap :)

Share with us your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

Stay updated with the latest business news and help one another become Smarter Towkays. Subscribe to our Newsletter now!

UPDATED AS OF 30 May 2024
Lowest Business Banking Facilities
Lowest SME Working Capital Loan (WCL) Rate
Per year
Lowest Business Term Loan Rate
Per year
Lowest Home Loan Rate
Per year
Lowest P2P Biz Loan Rate
Per month
Lowest Commercial Property Rate
Per year

Find the Best Loans, Insurance & Credit Cards

Get Our Weekly Newsletter

We value your privacy. We never share your email with 3rd parties. Unsubscribe at any time.