KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah-Malaysia My Second Home (Sabah-MM2H) programme will proceed whether or not the federal authorities give their green light, says Datuk Christina Liew.

She said Sabah-MM2H had been unnecessarily disrupted after more than a year of planning and preparations following a sudden directive from the Federal Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac) to all licensed agents handling MM2H applications to stop their operations.

She said the state’s decision does not supersede the Federal Government directive but merely provides an alternative option because it is ready to roll out.

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“We were ready three months ago and were supposed to roll it out on June 1,” Liew said, adding the state authorities hope to get a response from Motac on a review of the directive.

“We will appoint qualified representatives from our ministry to help the applicants in the process,” the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister said here on Friday (June 7).

She added that her ministry had met the state immigration and law enforcement agencies involved in MM2H approvals.

She said Motac was responsible for issuing licences for MM2H agents and related matters.

“Sabah is ready to accept (MM2H applicants), and they are interested in coming here. All we are doing is helping them, and now, (going through) our ministry (in Sabah) is the only way to go about it,” she added.

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She said foreigners wishing to buy property in Sabah may do so if they meet the requirements.

Motac issued a circular dated May 27 to all licensed agents handling MM2H applications, including those in Sabah and Sarawak, directing them to stop their operations.

Liew’s ministry then wrote to Motac the following day detailing its preparations to launch the Sabah-MM2H programme.

On May 31, Motac replied stating that no one is allowed to process new applications for Sabah-MM2H until further notice, Liew added.

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On Thursday (June 6), Liew indicated that the state may proceed with Sabah-MM2H despite Motac’s directive.

On Friday, Sarawak Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said he was disappointed by Motac’s move, which was done without consulting the Bornean States.

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