KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Shareda) has offered its support to the state government in the Sabah-Malaysia My Second Home (Sabah-MM2H) programme issue.

“We are prepared to assume the role of agents, ensuring that applicants meet the prerequisite of purchasing property valued above RM600,000,” said its president Datuk Chua Soon Ping, in a statement on Saturday (June 8).

He said by connecting with their network of agents overseas, Shareda aims to bridge any gap and offer sustainable solutions until a permanent resolution is achieved.

“We urge the Federal Government to recognise the importance of the Sabah-MM2H programme for our state’s economic future and to facilitate its seamless launch and operation,” he added.

Chua said this amid the discontent over the programme, which aims to attract overseas retirees and expatriates to make Sabah their second home, between the state and federal governments.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew had on Friday (June 7) said the Sabah-MM2H programme had been unnecessarily disrupted after more than a year of planning and preparations.

This, Liew added, was due to a sudden directive from the Federal Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry to all licensed agents handling MM2H applications to stop their operations.

She said, however, the programme will proceed whether or not the federal authorities gave their green light.

Earlier the same day, Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said he was disappointed by the ministry’s move, which was done without consulting the Bornean states.

The Sarawak Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister said Sabah and Sarawak should have been consulted as they had differing MM2H conditions from the peninsula.

Chua said the abrupt suspension by the ministry, communicated just days before the planned launch on June 1, was both unexpected and unexplained.

“This decision undermines the efforts of licensed agents, particularly those in Sabah, who have been preparing to facilitate the influx of potential applicants under the newly introduced Sabah-MM2H programme.

“We earnestly appeal to the Federal Government to reconsider their decision and ensure the smooth implementation of the Sabah-MM2H programme.

“The rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the Immigration Act 151 must be upheld, which grant the Chief Minister special authority over foreign residency policies within the state,” he said.

Chua added that Sabah has long lost out in terms of receiving its fair share of revenue, despite clear constitutional provisions.

Thus, he said, the economic potential of the Sabah-MM2H programme represented a significant opportunity to rectify this imbalance through the generation of additional revenue.

“This could greatly enhance the state’s infrastructure, including water, electricity, roads, and drainage system,” he said.

He further explained that the licensing of agents by the ministry was meant to ensure professionalism and quality service, which were crucial elements in promoting tourism, a top revenue earner for Sabah.

“In the absence of connections through ministry agents, our state can use alternative paths by accepting online applications and drawing from a new pool of local agents through our network, rather than relying heavily on federal agents,” Chua said.