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Tourism Malaysia makes strong pitch in Frankfurt for MM2H programme Print E-mail
Wednesday, 22 September 2010 00:00
FRANKFURT: Tourism Malaysia, which is making a big push for its Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) Programme to Europeans, made a strong pitch at a seminar in Frankfurt Monday night for the MM2H programme before a large German audience that included not only retired pensioners but also business entrepreneurs, government officials, professionals and others under 50, some of whom had come from as far as Switzerland.

Tourism Malaysia's Frankfurt-based director Syed Yahya Syed Othman explained the merits of the MM2H programme and its special appeal for Germans. He said this was the first seminar of its kind to be held in Germany. 

Syed Yahya played up Malaysia as an attractive destination, pointing out that it had been voted as the best long-stay destination in the top 20 list of retirement destinations by International Living.com magazine.

The reasons for this distinction include its value-for-money factor, location in Asia, tropical climate, well-developed infrastructure, wide use of English, educational and healthcare facilities, security, and variety of housing options available.

"Germany is the second largest source of participants, after the United Kingdom, in the MM2H programme," Syed Yahya said in an interview with Bernama as he highlighted the significance of Germany for the MM2H programme.

According to data from Tourism Malaysia, the total number of participants from around the globe in the MM2H programme is currently 14,358. The UK, with 1,750 participants, was the leading source of participants in the programme, followed by second-ranking Germany (192 participants), the Netherlands (182), France (108), Switzerland ((77) and Belgium (31).  

Syed Yahya was supported by a group that had arrived from the Kuala Lumpur headquarters to answer MM2H-related questions. Dayang Balkis Ramli, the assistant director from the MM2H Centre at the Tourism Malaysia headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, was accompanied by two licensed agents, Hosanna MM2H Sdn Bhd of Petaling Jaya, and Optimal Home International of Kuala Lumpur, that offer specialised services to participants in the MM2H programme. 

"By licensing such agents whose performance is reviewed each year, the Malaysian Government becomes actively involved and thus ensures that the MM2H participants get the right services for which they pay," Dayang Balkis told Bernama.

However, some of the Germans seemed unsure of whether the MM2H provided them with adequate safeguards in their old age when participants want a hassle-free retirement devoid of any red-tape entanglement.

The 10-year validity of the social pass that each MM2H participant would be getting seemed to dampen the spirits of some Germans who preferred, instead, to have a permanent resident status, as granted by some countries.

"The MM2H assumes that the 10-year life of the pass would satisfy the participants, many of whom find it restrictive. I have visited Malaysia and am impressed by its scenic beauty and level of development. I believe that Malaysia would benefit even more if it issued, instead, a permanent resident status to MM2H participants. After all, the Malaysian Government is, basically, interested in attracting capital from Germany and other countries, even though this will be deposited in Malaysian banks," an elderly German participant told Bernama.  

The permanent resident status would, also, attract business people and others with professional skills who would help Malaysia's future development and catapult it to become Southeast Asia's leading economic power.  

Keeping this in mind, Tourism Malaysia in Frankfurt sought the assistance of the Frankfurt-based German-Asian Business Circle, whose president Bodo Krueger was also present at the seminar, and the Japanese-German Business Group. Both these organisations had urged their members to participate in the seminar which was well-attended.

According to Syed Yahya, there are some 300 German companies present in Malaysia, of which 70 operate plants.

Dayang Balkis said she discerned some "serious enquiries" from the participants in Frankfurt.  

"Many of the people said they would like to go to Malaysia and see for themselves the facilities available there. Indeed, I have been asked by some of the participants to organise a similar seminar in their company premises for those who are about to retire," she claimed.  

The delegation, along with some staff members of Tourism Malaysia in Frankfurt, departed Tuesday for Stuttgart where they are organising a similar seminar. -- Bernama


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