KUCHING: The temporary freezing of the Malaysia My Second Home programme does not include Sarawak, said state Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
Abdul Karim said the freeze only applies to Peninsular Malaysia as Sarawak has its own policy and directions for the programme.
“The temporary freezing of the Malaysia My Second Home programme will only be effective for Peninsular Malaysia. The programme is still ongoing in the state,” he said.
Abdul Karim said this during a press conference after accompanying federal Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri to the Songket and Keringkam Gallery here yesterday.
“During the past cabinet meeting, we had amended the policies for the Malaysia My Second Home Programme in Sarawak to suit new directions in line with the state’s immigration autonomy and land code.”
Abdul Karim pointed out Sarawak enjoys its own immigration policies and land code that are different than that of Peninsular Malaysia.
“Sarawak has its own immigration policies and land code, the same goes to Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah. The policies are closely related to the purchase of landed property under the programme,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nancy said the federal government had decided to temporarily freeze the Malaysia My Second Home programme to allow it to be evaluated, especially the process that involved approving the ownership of property under the programme.
“The government has taken the implementation of the Movement Control Order since March 18 as an opportunity to improve the Malaysia My Second Home programme, particularly the approval process,” said Nancy.
She said the Immigration Department and her ministry had been studying the process related to its application and ownership of property under the programme and hoped for a solution by December.
The federal minister said the government cannot terminate the programme because it is one of the drivers of the country’s economy.
On a separate matter, Nancy said the federal government had decided to waive the tourism tax from July 1 this year to June 30, 2021 to revive the industry that had been badly battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The exemption is only temporary, as part of our efforts to promote tourism as implementing this tax would mean tourists have to shoulder higher costs since they have to pay extra RM10 when staying in a hotel,” she said.
Nancy also disclosed that the payment of tourism tax revenue to each state for last year had been completed.
“The purpose of this payment of tourism tax revenue is to enable each state to improve the quality of public facilities for the convenience of tourists,” she said, adding each state had received the payment for last year, including Sarawak, that amounted to about RM2.65 million.