MALAYSIANS ON THE BRINK OF BANKRUPTCY – WITH 580K FAMILIES SLIPPING INTO ABSOLUTE POVERTY – YET UNTHINKING MINISTERS LIKE HAMZAH WANT TO RISK A ‘GREAT EXODUS’ OF FOREIGN CAPITAL WITH HIS MM2H REQUIREMENTS HIKE

580k households slip into B40, absolute poverty rate rises to 8.4pct – PM

A total of 580,000 households from the middle-income group have slipped into the bottom 40 percent (B40) category due to the economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.

This represents approximately 20 percent of the middle 40 percent (M40) group, which initially received a monthly income of between RM4,850 and RM10,959, he said.

The pandemic also saw the B40 group suffer a loss of income, resulting in the absolute poverty figure in Malaysia rising to 8.4 percent in 2020, compared with 5.6 percent in 2019, Ismail Sabri said.

He said this is based on data provided by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), which is still applied to the current Poverty Line Income (PLI) which is set at RM2,208 per month.

“The government has conducted a socio-economic impact study following the pandemic,” Ismail Sabri told S Kesavan (Pakatan Harapan-Sungai Siput) and Natrah Ismail (Harapan-Sekijang) in a parliamentary reply today.

“Based on the report’s estimate of household income and incidence of poverty, which was conducted by the Statistics Department, as much as 20 percent or about 580,000 households from M40 group have shifted to the income limit below the B40 group,” he said.

However, he noted that the unemployment rate contributed to a reduction of the take-home income for those in the M40 and B40 categories.

Kesavan and Natrah asked if the government planned to revise the PLI threshold to reflect the current situation.

Ismail Sabri said the government would revise the PLI threshold together with the Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey in 2022.  MKINI

New MM2H terms will cause great exodus, survey shows

KUALA LUMPUR: Many Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) pass holders may pull out from the programme and head elsewhere, especially Thailand, if the government insists on new conditions announced on Aug 11.

Malaysia My Second Home Consultants Association (MM2HCA) president Anthony Liew told a press conference today that surveys conducted with TEG media and the Japan Club of Kuala Lumpur (JCKL) found that most MM2H participants do not meet the new RM40,000 offshore income requirement.

Only about 2.26% of respondents said they could meet both the new conditions.

Meanwhile, a survey with 799 Japanese retirees said that over 90% of them do not have the minimum RM40,000 in monthly offshore income required.

Another survey involving 686 MM2H pass holders found that 55% of existing participants plan to pull out from the programme if the new terms come into force, with 497 of them saying they would opt to move to Thailand.

Some have also reported that they would move to the Philippines (145 respondents) under the Philippine Special Resident Retirees Visa (SRRV) and Bali, Indonesia (119 respondents) under the Indonesia Retirement Visa (ITAS).

The government recently reactivated the MM2H programme with several new requirements that were supposedly put in place to attract high-quality participants who could contribute to the economy.

Among others, the participants must be in the country for at least 90 cumulative days in a year, and are also required to have an offshore income of at least RM40,000 a month, compared to RM10,000 previously.

They must also have a fixed deposit account with a minimum of RM1 million, with 50% maximum withdrawal allowed for the purpose of buying property or spending on health and children’s education.

Previously, participants only needed to have RM300,000 in fixed deposits while for those over 50, the amount was RM150,000.

Liew urged the government to exempt existing MM2H pass holders from the new conditions. He argued it would be unfair to subject them to new conditions as many have been living in Malaysia and contributing to the economy.

He also urged the immigration department to accept the 5,396 backlog applications made, but not processed, when the previous conditions were in place.

Based on current projections, these applicants may contribute up to RM6.39 billion to the national economy in the next five years.

This is inclusive of children’s education (RM121.4 million) and household expenditure (RM485.6 million).

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh also hoped the home ministry would engage MM2HCA on the new criteria.

“We cannot allow this uncertainty to linger as many will have to make business decisions on whether they want to pack up and go or stay.” FMT

MKINI /FREE MALAYSIA TODAY

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