Statistics on the Make Malaysia My 2nd Home (MM2H) Long Term (Retirement) Visa

Make Malaysia My 2nd Home (MM2H) is the program from Malaysia to encourage expats to stay in Malaysia by offering a long term (10 year) visa, often referred to as a retirement visa (though you needed be retired to qualify).

Applicants aged below 50 years are required to show proof of liquid assets worth a minimum of RM500,000 (approximately USD 125,000 given the exchange rate as I write this post) and offshore income of RM10,000 per month ($2,500/month). And on approval are required to deposit 300,000 MYR (USD 75,000 in a local bank account).

Applicants aged 50 and above may comply with the financial proof of RM350,000 (US$87,500) in liquid assets and off shore income of RM10,000 per month. On approval they are required to deposit 150,000 MYR (USD 37,500 in a local bank account).

Photo showing the view looking down Gurney drive, from the North (looking South)

View looking down Gurney drive in Penang, from the North (looking South). The many luxury condos and good restaurants and shopping are in this area make this a popular spot for MM2H expats living in Malaysia. See more photos from Penang.

The MM2H program was started in 2002 and since that time 34,591 expats have been approved to receive the MM2H visa. That is an average of 2,232 a year (the 2017 data is for only 6 months). The data is provided on MM2H government website.

Recently the program has gained popularity as the totals in the last 5 years all except 2015 reached levels well above that average. During 2012 approvals reached 3,227; 2013 had 3,675; 2014 had 3,074; 2015 had 2,211; 2016 had 3,347 and 2017 had 1,854 in the first 6 months.

27,544 of those receiving MM2H visas since the start of the program are from Asia (80% of the total), 4,225 from Europe (12%), 1,309 from the Americas (4%), 996 from Oceania and 424 (3%) from Africa (1%). Europe has seen a slight decline recently while Asia has increased during the last few years from the totals earlier in the program.

Countries that are consistently among the top countries yearly are: China (27% of the total from 2002 until now), Japan (12%), Bangladesh (11%), UK (7%), Korea (4%) and Singapore (4%). Korea has had a large increase in the last 4 years (they make up 6% of the total from 2014 to 2017).

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Train Transportation Between Johor Bahru and Singapore

Since 2015 KTM has run a commuter train between Johor Bahru and Singapore. The trains run from JB Sentral to Woodlands in Singapore (and the reverse). The cost is much higher from Singapore to JB. For whatever reason that is how the buses are priced too, the price is for example 5 MYR from JB to Singapore and Sing$5 from Singapore to JB. Since 1 Singapore dollar is 3.1 MYR that makes the price much higher from Singapore.

photo of the inside of the train

Inside of the train, via Singapore to JB Train post

The train ride itself takes under 10 minutes. The schedule is subject to change but runs more frequently in the morning (from JB) and in the evening (from Singapore) and infrequently during the day. It is geared toward commuters from Johor Bahru to jobs in Singapore which is why the times may seem a bit odd at first glance.

Remember you have to pass through customs before getting on the train. They have made the process faster by having you go through both country’s customs office before boarding the train. With the bus you have to go through customs, go over the bridge, then get off the bus and go through customs again and then get back on the bus. This obviously wastes time. The JB extension to the Singapore MRT (whenever it finally gets started and then completed) will use this improved process of clearly both customs at the same time.

Frankly I find the KTM website too confusing to use. You may also purchase tickets via this site. Even on this site you have to be careful to get the right ticket (the results will include some that are not going between JB and Singapore – maybe that will be fixed when you look, but be careful).

The current schedule is (remember this may well change so try the links above for current information)

Johor Bahru to Singapore Train Schedule

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Most Popular Posts on the Living in Malaysia Blog in 2016

These were the most popular posts on our Living in Malaysia blog in 2016 (based on page views):

  1. Taking the Bus from Johor Bahru to Singapore
  2. Malaysia Automated Clearance System (MACS)*
  3. Johor Bahru Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine Complex (CIQ)
  4. Plaza Pelangi in Johor Bahru CBD
  5. Dentist in Johor Bahru
  6. This is a video I shot and posted that shows a 360 degree view of the Johor Bahru CBD. It gets more view than some of my more popular posts.

  7. Danga City Mall in Johor Bahru
  8. Timeline for Extending Singapore’s MRT to Johor Bahru Slips Into 2020, or Beyond
  9. Gianni’s Italian Restaurant in JB (Taman Pelangi and Permas Jaya)
  10. The Spice Kitchen Indian Restaurant in Bukit Indah, Johor Bahru
  11. Bus from JB CBD (CIQ) to Jusco in Permas Jaya*
  12. Arulmigu Sri Raja Kallamman Indian Hindu Glass Temple in Johor Bahru
  13. Annalakshmi Indian Restaurant in Historic JB
  14. If You Visit Kuching on Borneo Eat at Tribal Stove
  15. Street Art, Large Mural on Jalan Tan Hiok Nee in Johor Bahru
  16. Basketball Courts In Johor Bahru CBD (here is a link to a video of me shooting baskets at my condo)

* new to the top post list this year.

Related: Most Popular Posts on Our Blog in 2015Johor Bahru Real Estate blog

JB Arts Festival 2016

Once again the JB Arts Festival is taking place in Johor Bahru.

Performers include Najwa Mahiaddin:

Juno and Hanna:

And as always there will be art events and workshops, including:

The Johor Sketchers will be collecting stories from the people of Jalan Trus, Jalan Pahang, Jalan Dhoby and Jalan Tan Hiok Nee and doing a ‘sketchwalk’, in which they sketch scenes of the city on location, live. Stories will then be exchanged for postcards with sketches of downtown buildings and scenes, and these stories will be displayed on a Story Map Mural inside the Thinkcity Office on Jalan Pahang.

The festival has already started and runs through October 8th.

Related: 10th Annual JB Arts FestivalWhite Box and Black Box @ Danga City Mall (11th annual arts festival)2014 Johor Bahru Arts Festival9th Johor Bahru Arts Festival (2012)

Malaysia Automated Clearance System (MACS)

If you live in Johor Bahru and work in Singapore (or have some other need to commute frequently, student etc.) you would fill up your passport quickly if you got stamps in your passport for each entry and exit.

The Malaysia Automated Clearance System (MACS) uses a sticker (with embedded with a RFID chip) that is attached to the passport and scanned upon entry and departure from Malaysia. So this removes the Malaysian stamps.

MACS has been developed to cater to non-Malaysian investors, business persons and professionals. A Malaysian sponsor company is required. Working for a business in Iskandar that also required you to work in Singapore would likely qualify. This requirement is stated in some places but seems to be ignored often especially for those with a Singapore passport (which makes sense, say you are just someone who lives in Singapore and has a weekend home in JB shouldn’t you be able to use MACS?).

You can apply and receive your MACS sticker at the main Johor Bahru CIQ (ask when you are there I can’t find a direct link on their web site).

Enhanced Immigration Automated Clearance System (eIACS) brochure

Singapore has the Enhanced Immigration Automated Clearance System (eIACS) for Singapore citizens, permanent residents and Long Term Pass holders and Work pass holders. See the link for various conditions. It might only be available for those with Malaysian, USA, UK, Chinese or Australian passports (I am not sure on this part).

Please add your comments on your experience or suggestions related to commuting between Singapore and Johor Bahru.

Related: Timeline for Extending Singapore’s MRT to Johor Bahru Slips Into 2020, or BeyondTaking the Bus from Johor Bahru to SingaporeOnline Resources for Living in Johor BahruSingapore and Iskandar Malaysia

Butterfly Park in Kuala Lumpur

Black butterfly and blue/purple flowers

The Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park is located in the Lake Gardens area which includes the KL Bird Park, National Mosque of Malaysia, Islamic Arts Museum, etc..

iridescent blue and orange butterfly

I like butterfly parks so I enjoyed it. It was an impressive butterfly park but it is also pretty much what you expect if you have visited several. If you enjoy them then I think it is well worth a visit. If you don’t know, it is a good one to check out and see if you like them.

White and orange butterfly on orange flowers

A big part of what I enjoy is the photography so if you enjoy photography you may well also enjoy a visit.

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Photos of Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia

I like walking around cities to see how things feel as you walk around. I like walking in the touristy areas (often I do anyway) and also the non-touristy areas. One of the problems in walking in non-touristy areas is if they are not meant to be walked around (cars are expected) then it can be pretty boring. But if locals walk around it can be quite nice.

Cat monument, with people posing in front

The cat monument is hardly impressive but it is a popular photo spot nevertheless. Kuching means cat in Malay (Bahasa Sarawak is the dialect of Malay spoken in Sarawak). Kucing is the word for cat in Bahasa Malay but in Bahasa Sarawak the word is pusak. There is some dispute how the name came to be but the city has adopted the cat city nickname.

the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly building from the riverwalk

The Kuching Esplanade is in the foreground with a view of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly building across the river (Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak).

Window on a red wall with yellow shutters open

Nice wall and window on a street near the Kuching riverwalk/esplanade. The Kuching riverwalk and a bit of surrounding area are nice for tourists (and locals) to walk around and enjoy.

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Bloomberg TV Takes a Look at the Iskandar Economy

Bloomberg TV Malaysia’s Cynthia Ng examines slowing growth in Iskandar’s real estate sector and the prospects for Johor Bahru.

The report states that 650,000 jobs have been added in Iskandar between 2006 and 2014. It also references a forecast for Iskandar to add 800,000 more new jobs by 2025.

The report pushes the notion that the housing market has been overdone and other areas (health care, tourism, education, banking…) should be targeted by investors. Manufacturing is a significant focus and has been doing fairly well (it is the only area with more investment than housing).

I raised the issues mentioned in the report (such as the over-reliance on luxury condo development) in my 2014 post Iskandar: Present and Future (and in other posts).

Related: Iskandar Housing Real Estate Investment Considerations (2011)The Potential of Iskandar is Very High but Investing in Iskandar has Risks (2011)The Precipitous Fall of the Ringgit Shows the Economic Risk in the Malaysian EconomyIskandar Malaysia Economic Development Zone (2013)The Singapore Market Impacts on the Johor Bahru Real Estate Market (2013)

Most Popular Posts on Our Blog in 2015

These were the most popular posts on the Living in Malaysia blog in 2015 (based on page views):

  1. Taking the Bus from Johor Bahru to Singapore
  2. Johor Bahru Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine Complex (CIQ)
  3. Extremely Bad Haze in Johor Bahru and Singapore (2013)
  4. Plaza Pelangi in Johor Bahru CBD
  5. Dentist in Johor Bahru
  6. Danga City Mall in Johor Bahru
  7. The Spice Kitchen Indian Restaurant in Bukit Indah, Johor Bahru
  8. Gianni’s Italian Restaurant in JB (Taman Pelangi and Permas Jaya)
  9. Arulmigu Sri Raja Kallamman Indian Hindu Glass Temple in Johor Bahru
  10. paintings inside the Arulmigu Sri Raja Kallamman Indian Temple

    Inside the Arulmigu Sri Raja Kallamman Indian Temple

  11. Timeline for Extending Singapore’s MRT to Johor Bahru Slips Into 2020, or Beyond
  12. Annalakshmi Indian Restaurant in Historic JB
  13. Galleria Mall @ Kotayara – Johor Bahru CBD
  14. Street Art, Large Mural on Jalan Tan Hiok Nee in Johor Bahru
  15. Thaipusam Festival, Johor Bahru (2013)
  16. Basketball Courts In Johor Bahru CBD (here is a link to a video of me shooting baskets at my condo)

This is a video I shot and posted that shows a 360 degree view of the Johor Bahru CBD. It gets more view than some of my more popular posts.

St. Paul’s Church in Malacca

The ruins of St. Paul’s Church rest on the top of St. Paul’s hill overlooking Malacca (UNESCO world heritage site).

Interior of the ruins of St. Paul's Church (there is no roof)

Interior of St. Paul’s Church. All photos by John Hunter, see more of my photos of Malaysia.

The is part of the Malacca Museum Complex comprising the A Famosa ruins, the Stadthuys and other historical buildings.

Overlooking A Famosa ruins from St. Paul's Hill

Overlooking the A Famosa ruins (about in the center of the photo) from St. Paul’s Hill.

The original church was a simple chapel built in 1521.

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