KUCHING, June 1: A total of 285 potential investors and retirees from Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Australia participated in first “Sarawak-Malaysia My Second Home (S-MM2H) webinar last week organised by the Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office Singapore (Statos).
Statos in a press statement today said it has embarked on a new marketing strategy to attract home buyers and long stay visitors to Sarawak in collaboration with Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (MTAC), Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) and Tourism Malaysia for the initiative.
Statos deputy chief executive officer (CEO) Putrie Rozana said, “I believe our advertising message really struck a chord with our target market.
“People everywhere are spending more time at home making it the perfect time to review their lifestyle choices.
“The event was promoted throughout South East Asia with a social media campaign and through Tourism Malaysia’s regional offices reaching out to their database contacts,” she said.
In the meantime, MTAC Sarawak is responsible for administrating the S-MM2H visa programme under which more than 1,300 long stay visas have been granted to families and retirees in the last 14 years.
To date, citizens from the United Kingdom, China, Taiwan, Indonesia and Singapore made up the top five source markets for Sarawak.
MTAC permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee added: “Sarawak is currently the only State in Malaysia still accepting applications for the S-MM2H program and to speed up the approval process we have formed a new ‘one-stop-panel’ made up of multiple agencies to fast-track approvals within 90 days.
Meanwhile, participant Sam Lion, a Singaporean who originally spent two years in Kuching on a working visa, explained to the audience that when his family returned to Singapore, they struggled as they missed the relaxed pace of life in Sarawak and kept finding excuses to return.
They were accepted into the S-MM2H program in 2016 and have been alternating between their homes in Singapore and Kuching ever since.
Lion noted Sarawak’s comparatively low cost of living, education and health care costs were a major drawcard for them.
Lion said: “In Sarawak, RM600,000 can secure a spacious home or apartment whereas in Singapore it costs that much for a three-room Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat.”
Moreover, Regal International Group’s chairman Dato Dominic Su who represented Sheda said: “Sheda members can be found throughout Sarawak and are able to assist buyers find the right home.
“Buyers should make sure they also tell their chosen agents what kind of lifestyle they are seeking in order to get the best possible advice on location and property types within their price range,” he said.
Other than that, Tourism Malaysia’s senior director Manoharan Periasamy said: “Malaysia is currently ranked 7th in the world’s best places to retire by International Living and there are five very important elements that contributed to that ranking – language, security, low cost of living, tropical climate and the friendly people.”
During the webinar, Statos noted, there was a great deal of interest and many questions were raised about the variety of affordable property available for buyers looking to purchase or rent a second home.
The event is available to view in full by logging on to Statos Singapore’s YouTube channel.
To make the application process for S-MM2H faster and easier, MTAC said it has recently appointed 10 registered agents based in Sarawak.
These agents can submit applications and act as sponsors on behalf of overseas applicants.
Likewise, Statos will continue to provide a marketing platform for S-MM2H programme as part of their tourism marketing strategy as it benefits both the tourism sector through expenditure revenue and attracts residential investment. — DayakDaily