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Malaysia woos Japanese senior citizens Print E-mail
Saturday, 25 September 2010 00:00

TOKYO: Japanese senior citizens have been invited to make Malaysia their second home.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the number of Japanese people aged 65 and above was increasing and they would be more than comfortable about living in Malaysia due to its strategic location, advances in medicine and cheaper cost of living.

Furthermore, she added, Malaysia was already a popular retirement destination for the Japanese.

“We are more than happy to take in more,” she told a gathering of representatives from several Japanese associations here.

“We have Japanese schools, Japanese clubs and Japanese restaurants back home.

“The cost of living in Malaysia is also a third of that in Japan. Almost everything is duty free except liquor, tobacco and Corningware (a brand of glassware that is resistant to thermal heat),” added Dr Ng, who is here to promote the Make Malaysia Your Second Home (MM2H) programme.

She said since the programme started in 2002, more than 14,300 foreigners had made Malaysia their second home. Of these, more than 1,100 were Japanese.

She said other successful applicants were from Iran, Britain, China, Pakistan, Singapore, Australia, Bangladesh, the United States and India.

Dr Ng said Malaysia was an ideal tourism as well as retirement destination with more than 1,000 islands, 42 marine parks and a 130-million-year-old rainforest.

“We also have homestay programmes which have been popular with Japanese tourists. Our diversity is also a big asset and this is certainly an added attraction to foreigners,” she said, adding that successful MM2H applicants would get a 10-year multiple entry social visit pass.

She said foreigners need only to show that they have liquid assets worth more than RM350,000 and some form of a monthly income, such as a pension, if they were above 50.

“When your application is approved, you will have to save at least RM150,000 in a fixed deposit with a bank in Malaysia, of which RM50,000 can be withdrawn from the second year onwards if one wishes to,” she said.

For applicants aged 50 and below, they have to show they have liquid assets worth RM500,000 when applying and a monthly income of RM10,000.

“When the application is approved, he or she will have to keep RM300,000 in a fixed deposit account in a bank in Malaysia. He or she will be able to withdraw up to RM150,000 from the second year onwards if he wishes to use the money,” she said, adding that Malaysia was listed by the Wolrd Tourism Council as the ninth most visited country.

Ng said both Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia would start direct flights to Haneda, near Tokyo, in November and December and this would give the Japanese more reason to join the MM2H programme.

MAS now operates regular flights from KL International Airport to Osaka and Narita.

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/9/21/nation/20100921180651&sec=nation



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