Sarawak My Second Home Program

I though I'd post an Independent Thread on the Sarawak version of the Malaysia My Second Home Program which is different in several ways from the version in the Peninsular Malaysian States. Why you ask? Well, when Malaysia formed Sarawak and Sabah were British Colonies while Malaya had been independent several years. The new members insisted on some conditions as part of the union, including an Independent State Bureaucracy (including Immigration and Tourism) and maintaining their own Constitutional protections from the Rajah Brooke-era.

I just completed the process on February 1st 2018, on my own, without an agent and from arrival/submission of documents it took almost precisely TWO MONTHS. That also included some shut down time in government offices for Christmas and New Years holidays. This would be record time on the Peninsula. I suspect that a well-prepared individual could do it in a month.

It's IMPERATIVE that anyone intending to apply to Sarawak or Sabah do so at the Immigration offices in those States. You cannot convert your Peninsular MM2H to those states, you would have to reapply in full. Although you cannot transfer your MM2H to Sarawak or Sabah, you CAN do the opposite.  For example, someone on the MM2H (Peninsular) cannot buy property in Sarawak. But a Sarawak M2H can do so in the Peninsula. They can reside their whole time in Penang if they so wish, or move to Sabah.

It's difficult to find out information about the Sabah Program, though my understanding is that it largely is the same in terms of requirements and benefits as the Peninsular programs. One does have to submit all the documents to the Immigration Department for Sabah. They have a number of agents that are authorized as well. One benefit...The minimum floor for purchasing a condominium or home is lower than in most of the peninsula.

I can tell you in detail about the Sarawak reality. Some things are different that what they advertise, however.

Unlike the Peninsular version it's definitely a RETIREMENT visa program. With one or two exceptions (if you have school age children in school) it's for a primary applicant 50 years of age or above. As well, with rare exceptions (e.g. a government consultancy) you cannot work in Sarawak.

This was surprising to me as I came entirely decked out with bank slips and 401K forms...UNLIKE the PENINSULA Sarawak doesn't require that you demonstrate proof of ANY liquid assets abroad at ALL.

OPTION 1 (Pension/Off-Shore Income Option)

I simply  had to show them was 3 months worth of monthly off-shore income (mine were pension warrant slips to my bank, but ANY Pay Slip/Warrant Slip will do). So if you have a Private Pension/Annuity or Off-Shore Salary  it is acceptable.

If you are SINGLE the amount of  pension/income is RM 7,000 (For married couples RM 10,000).  If you take this option you must have 3 Months of payment slips to demonstrate you are already receiving that income. Couples may combine sources of off-shore income to reach RM10.000.

CURRENTLY  RM7000 = US$1800  RM10,000 = US$2560

Option 2 (Fixed Deposit Option)
This is for people who cannot demonstrate the minimum pension/offshore income levels for Option 1.

Sarawak requires applicants in this path to establish a Fixed Deposit (refundable upon termination of the program) of RM 100,000 for a SINGLE and RM150,000 for a couple. 

CURRENTLY RM 100K = US$25,600  RM150K = US$38,365

Similar rules about the withdrawal as on the peninsula. One can withdraw up to RM40K (single ~ $10,230) or RM90K (couple ~ US$23,020 ) after the second year for housing/apartment purchase, Malaysian-built car (the status of this is unknown), or Medical/Educational purposes. Afterwards one must retain RM60,000 (@US$15,345) in the account for the time you remain.

There are two difficulties in the Sarawak program.

1) One is that one will only be given a maximum of a FIVE-YEAR renewable visa...not 10-Years as advertised. This is supposedly because the Immigration office wants a re-applicant to undergo another health check to examine for any communicable diseases and drug abuse.

I was assured that other ailments would not disqualify the re-applicant. For everyone else it's a formality. "We have never rejected a reapplicant" according to the Asst. Director of Sarawak Immigration. Talking with a few expats on the program they have said it's just a matter of filling out
the forms, giving them another health checkup (which must include blood and urine tests and a
Chest X-Ray @ RM150 signed by a DOCTOR).

Oh and paying the RM90/year visa fee. EXPAT Friends here told me, "Look on the bright side, IF you
had gotten a 10-Year Visa and hate it and leave after 3'd be out RM630."

2) The second problem is that one MUST have a Sarawakian sponsor willing to sign a PROMISSARY document (Stamp Fee of RM10 at the Tax Office) to provide for cover the Security Bond IF the
applicant (YOU) is for some reason thrown off the program (for secretly working, dealing drugs, establishing a covert political party, etc.) 

The bond PROMISE varies...from RM2100 for Americans and Canadians (along with Colombia nad much of Sub-Saharan Africa)...down to RM200 for Singaporeans. … rates.html

I quizzed the Asst. Director of Immigration who stated that they had no issue if a landlord acted as the sponsor and took a deposit for the bond, or if there was a contract between the sponsor and applicant.

AGENTS: Apparently there are also now four approved agents (who likely fold the bond into their fees). … red-agents  [Insert Sarawak into the State window]

But you can do the ENTIRE APPLICATION on your own, IF you can find a Sarawakian sponsor.


Another oddity is that while you have to be PRESENT in Sarawak to complete the process, you cannot come in on a TOURIST PASS. This appaenttly applies only to some countries (I believe Commonwealth are exempt). You must actually have a Single-Entry Visa issued from the consulate/embassy in your home country (Cost there US$6). Oh dear, does that mean I have to fly back to the USA for a six dollar visa and fly back again? No, there was a "fix"...I could buy a $6 Single-Entry Visa at the immigration office (Hooray!!!). The problem is that there is something called the "Journey-Performed Fee" in addition. That was a whopping RM500. (Boo...US$130). My advice is to get the regular Single Entry Visa With Reference (VDR)  before you come. You may need to submit your sponsor letter and explain why you can't enter on  a tourist pass. BTW This applies on the peninsula as well if you apply internally. But there may not be anyway around it.


As I mentioned it's a 5 Year Multi-Entry Visa awarded.

My total cost was RM 150 for Check-Up, RM 50 for various notarizations/legal affidavits, RM10 for the stamp tax, RM480 for the Social Visit/ME Visa, and RM500 for the darned Journey-Performed FEE.

Total cost @RM1200 (US$300) plus some Uber fares for me and my sponsor. Half of that was the avoidable JP Fee. Done in 2 months. You could knock RM500 ($130) off that if you can somehow avoid the JP fees.

Here are some official documents that relate to the Sarawak MM2H Program

This is the Home Page which provides links to a description of the program and forms … sub_id=179

This page provides a head-to-head comparison between the Sarawak Program and Peninsula Malaysia … w/221/279/ 

And this page provides a handy list of documentation required … itions.pdf

*Note that the Visa is a 5-Year Renewable Visa (contrary to the documents, not 10-Years)

*There is No proof of Liquid Assets requirement.

*One may opt to demonstrate proof of 3-months of regular income (pension, annuity, salary, other stable income) OR establish a Fixed Deposit

*There is no mention of any requirement for health insurance
(I was never asked for any but I'm 64; this may differ for younger applicants)

*There is no documentation required showing GOOD CONDUCT from your Local or Federal police.

cinnamonape :

AGENTS: Apparently there are also now four approved agents (who likely fold the bond into their fees). … red-agents  [Insert Sarawak into the State window]

The agents could also be the sponsors or is it still a different story. I can imagine it could be super difficult to find a sponsor at Sarawak by my own, even Im not living there.

"The agents could also be the sponsors or is it still a different story. I can imagine it could be super difficult to find a sponsor at Sarawak by my own, even Im not living there."

IWe have been discussing this issue on another page (britishexpats) and one prospective applicant contacted a couple of agents and was told that they would charge RM10,000 not including visa fees, Journey Performed, Insurance, etc..

I would point out that Joy Stay (in Penang) only charges RM4800+500 deposit for their basic plan.

I'm still unsure about the legitimacy of "agents"...and although they are licensed by the peninsular MM2H program they may not be allowed by Sarawak Immigration. I think the concern was precisely rip-offs and abuses of this sort.

I have suggested to the Sarawak government that they allow an application without sponsor, as on the peninsula, provided that the applicant pays the refundable Personal Bond (RM 400-RM2000) up front.

I'd suggest that you visit (I think sound advice in any circumstances) speak to a lot of rental agents and ask if they (if Sarawakian, or maybe they could find one) would be willing to sponsor you for an additional deposit fee covering the Personal Bond which they could hold for the term of the visa.  They get a tenant, aren't at any real risk financially for the bond, although they would have to undertake an interview. You could probably pay them a small fee for that and any other assistance they offer. But RM10,000, c'mon. The only glitch might be if you wanted to move - you'd possibly have to change sponsors...or just continue to let them hold the bond (and get interest) until 5 years were up.

Oh, and when you get the visa you have to be physically present. To avoid the RM500 Journey Performed Fee you need to get a sponsored short-term Social Visit Visa from your embassy. The landlord could act as your sponsor for that as well.

Dear Cinammonape,
By Landlord -- Are you refering to the owner of rental house in Sarawak?
What about those did not intend to live in Sarawak?


"By Landlord -- Are you refering to the owner of rental house in Sarawak?
What about those did not intend to live in Sarawak?"

Yes, or an apartment...because agents are supposedly not allowed.

Unless you can find another local to act as your sponsor then you are sort of stuck.  At this point Sarawak doesn't allow a Sarawak M2H without a local sponsor. But if you can find a local sponsor then you can use the visa to live  anywhere in Malaysia.

Sarawak doesn't as yet have a system to allow un-sponsored Sarawak M2H applicants like the mainland.

thank you very much.

Dear Cinnamonape,

Thanks for explaining the process of "Sarawak My Second Home Program".

If you can please give me an advice regarding below my concerns.

I am expat 36 years old and working in Curtin university Sarawak.  My family is staying with me & kids are studying in Sarawak. My monthly salary RM 8000. I have been in Sarawak for last 4 years.

If I opened a FD for (Option 2 Fixed Deposit Option) RM 150,000,

*Can I apply Sarawak My Second Home Program?

* What happen to my Job? Now I am under employment visa provided by my company.

As long as I have working VISA, do they offer to apply Sarawak My Second home program? … w/221/279/

Hi Aikinava,

You may qualify under this clause.

"Applicants who are 30 years old and above may apply if there is evidence that they have children pursuing further education or undergoing long term medical treatment in Sarawak."

Some younger people may be able to work on line, or undertake periodic non-Malaysian jobs and live in Malaysia.

However your income level (requisite RM10,000 for couples) and the fact that participants in the Sarawak MM2H are not allowed to work in Sarawak (or Malaysia) without government permission may make the Sarawak M2H inappropriate. My understanding is that exceptions are made only for high-skilled Part-Time work. Another exception may be for "investors" who are managing their business.

You presumably already have a work visa, so why would you want to shift to a retirement visa?  Do you see some advantage that I don't?

Oh wait, maybe you would qualify...since you are not applying under the "off-shore" income provision, but under the "Fixed Deposit" Provision you possibly would be accepted.

The problem is the issue with the job. You can't work under a Sarawak MM2H so you would have to give up your work permit. Is the problem with your wife and kids not being able to stay on that visa? If so, then you could possibly have your wife apply for the Sarawak MM2H with the children as dependents. You keep your work visa...she has the MM2H visa.

Hi Cinnamonape,

Thank you very much for prompt response.  It is awesome idea "Apply for the SARAWAK MM2H" under my wife as an investor. This idea never come to my mind.  So great..!! Thanks again for your brilliant advice.

Basically I was planning apply for "SARAWAK MM2H" progaram and get the Visa for 5 or 10 years. Again I had a doubt as long as I have working visa, how do I apply for this.

Now I found the way.  I will continue with my employment visa.

So my wife can apply under investment category. ( Fixed Deposit Option - RM 150,000 ) and my children as dependent on her.

As long my wife apply for Sarawak MM2H, hope I can work as usual.

Thank you so much for your great idea..!! Hats off..!

Glad to offer a potential option. I'm still curious. Is there no provision to bring your wife and family in on the terms of your employment visa?

Sarawak offers only a 5 year visa (I know it says 10 years on the website and elsewhere, but immigration is insistent). That's not really that much of an impediment as the renewal is almost never denied and does not require additional fees (simply the visa fees and not any Journey Performed fee). They only want a  a new Medical exam to check for any dangerous contagious diseases (interestingly, other diseases that you are receiving treatment for are not exclusionary).

In fact, some might say that the shorter visa term is an advantage as you don't have to pay down the line for years that you may not you can withdraw the Fixed Deposit and shop around for new rates at 5 years.

But some look at the five year term and say..."maybe I should not buy property, car, etc. if I don't have that 10-Year sticker in my passport". It's a psychological barrier.

The wife and kids are already on Dependent Visas (or Student). But would some offshore income of any type be needed under the investment route?

According to proof of offshore income/pension is required EXCEPT for the pension route. … itions.pdf

The application requires that one demonstrate documents establishing the following.

11. A copy of certified copy of Fixed Deposit statement from any local bank in Sarawak [amount to RM 150,000.00 (for couple) or RM 100,000.00 (for individual)]
A copy of certified copy of latest 3 months government approved pension funds (for applicants who are 50 years old and above) [RM 10,000.00 (for couple) or RM 7,000.00 (for individual)].
A copy of show proof of monthly off-shore income funds (for applicants who are 30 years old and above) [RM 10,000.00 (for couple) or RM 7,000.00 (for individual)]."

I'm unsure how one would establish the fixed deposit prior to submission of the documentation, but I assume that they will insist on that proof after issuing the the Conditional Letter of Approval. In the next line they state
12.A copy of RB II Form and certified copy of Medical Report EACH (separated form for spouse)."

This is typically done after the Conditional Letter is issued but prior to the receipt of the visa.

Hi Cinnamonape,

Actually at the present my wife and kids are on dependent Visa category.  My company has arranged dependent visa for them. 

Below are the reasons why I am planning to apply "SARAWAK MM2H".

1. My job contract expires in 31st Dec 2020.  After that it may renew. Cannot guarantee.
If I have "SARAWAK MM2H" any time I can go in and out from Malaysia. 

2. "SARAWAK MM2H" is cheapest compare with West Malaysia. For investors minimum in West Malaysia RM 500k. But in Sarawak RM 150K. After one year can withdraw the 60% and maintain the minimum balance.

3. Personally I feel Sarawak is nice place to live. More peaceful and people are friendly and helpful.

How do you experience in past few years in Sarawak? By the way I am planing to apply beginning of 2020 and at that time government policies may change. :)

Are you aware that there is another Visa Program in Sarawak (Sarawak Property Program).
I have been here with my wife since 2007 on this program.

That's interesting Manukes. Wonder if it is still running

Gravitas :

That's interesting Manukes. Wonder if it is still running

It is....  or at least it was 3 weeks ago when we renewed our visa.

Renewing is different from making new applications as our Malaysian hosts don't kick people off programmes just close them to new participants. I would be interested in more information and whether the MM2H programme superseded the property-based one.

It seems like a good strategy. As long as the current provisions don't change dramatically (2020 is a ways off). As well, not being the "principal" would allow you to stay, and return to work at some point, without disrupting the Principals/other Dependents visa status. Either of you could travel outside for work, or work on-line. Kids could continue in school.

I'm lobbying to get some changes in the program regarding having an option for self-sponsorship (by paying a refundable Personal Bond on the Peninsula), as well as to allow some part-time employment (maybe 25% time) without switching to a work visa, and to allow more withdrawals from the Fixed Account for locally (Sarawak) produced goods/purchases/investments/charity. All of this would have increased benefits to the LOCAL economy as well as attract more applicants.

All I can tell you is that when we arrived here in 2007 and visited Immigration in Kuching for further information on MM2H we were asked ' Which program do you wish to join, there are two' When we were given details about the property program - which requires a sponsor and ownership of property in Sarawak but does not require fixed deposits into a bank account we chose the property program. Disadvantages - 1 year renewable visa cosing RM90 only.

All visas cost RM90 per year now

To add a bit more confusion to the stew...

The following FAQ suggests that you should provide additional information about assets BESIDES the materials above. Because I was on the Pension Program and provided my pensions warrants perhaps they were satisfied (I was prepared to give them information about my bank accounts and a 401K Investment Fund, but they gave those documents back and never requested further information). … n-FAQ.html

"Q2: What do you recommend to improve my chances of approval?

A2: While you are required to place a fixed deposit and/or show proof of income, these are only the minimum requirements. In order to receive approval, you must show that you have a strong financial background by providing asset statements, bank deposit statements and proof of any additional income that you derive beyond the minimum required amounts. In other words, simply having RM150,000 in the bank and RM10,000 per month in income will not get approval. Furthermore, we recommend you apply with family members when possible.

Q7: Can I use my existing non-cash assets in Malaysia to fulfill the MM2H condition?

A7: No, they cannot be considered equivalent to the fix deposit requirement stated in the Conditional Approval Letter by the Immigration of Malaysia. However, we strongly advise you to include whatever assets you have in Malaysia or elsewhere as your supporting financial documents when you make your MM2H application.

Q10: What were the main reasons applications were being rejected?

A10: Most rejected cases were due to the failure in showing proof of strong financial status. As mentioned above, applicants with just enough cash available for the required fix deposit and meeting the minimum requirement for monthly income will not be approved.

Q11: If I have been staying in Malaysia for years, can I apply for MM2H?

A11: Yes, provided you have a valid Social Visa at the point of application and are able to fulfill all the requirements. The application can be done while you are in Malaysia."

The material in the FAQ relating to the term of the Sarawak Visa (10 Years) is wrong however. You only will be awarded a 5 Year Renewable Visa.

Yes I am aware of that.

So proof of some subsistence income is required even on the investment route - it just doesnt have to be the levels of pension that avoid the need to place a FD.

No, the property you own and proof that you still own (Rates assessment receipt) is all that is needed.

Yes...but they are not explicit about what the magic numbers may be.

And be mindful that the Fixed Account cannot be used as a Checking Account for sundry items. It's "FIXED". So one will need a separate income except for children's education, healthcare costs, and other approved withdrawals.

It's just to help Aikinava plan his spouses application. She will need to show income. It's the same these days on Guardian visas (which women usually hold). They must show monthly income into their Malaysian bank account. It's sensible really. A woman holding a MM2H or Guardian visa needs to be able to support herself and children (even if its fake info e.g. money in / money out).

Would you recommend having a separate account? Or a foreign bank account?

I'd think the application should be done while he's still on contract so they can demonstrate income from Swinburne, and then it it is not renewed then they would still have the Sarawak M2H visa. The issue would still to survive beyond savings for a year.

Can only hold one visa at a time. So would have to give up Dependent Passes. Some hypothetical questions need asking about accounts. I am just wondering whether spouse can be added later, when EP finishes. Or whether he would need to make own MM2H application

Another option might be to apply for the RPT visa or even a Permanent Residency.

Yes he couldn't receive his MM2H visa except by cancelling his work visa. But I think he could be on the "application" and have the six months to decide whether to accept the MM2H stamp. It's all very fuzzy if    dependents (like 60+ parents or children) have to submit their passports at the same time, within that 6 month window, or can be added down the road.

After all, what if you bring a parent over a year later? Or get married? Or your children are finishing up school semester and won't be arriving until after the 6 month window passes? Or if you have a child? Or when that child obtains their own passport?  They'd be listed on the application (or added).

Since they are in Sarawak maybe they can talk with the Sarawak MM2H who may have some experience with this...or even better, Immigration. It's a fairly individualized set of circumstances.

I'm still curious about the details of this "Sarawak Property Program" and if it still exists. It sounds something like a complete erasure of the "Discounted Fixed Deposit if you by a RM1 million property that the peninsula used to have. Except it was total.  And had to be renewed year-to-year (I guess so that one could not simply sell the property).  Could one rent it out?

quote "I'm still curious about the details of this "Sarawak Property Program" and if it still exists. It sounds something like a complete erasure of the "Discounted Fixed Deposit if you by a RM1 million property that the peninsula used to have. Except it was total.  And had to be renewed year-to-year (I guess so that one could not simply sell the property).  Could one rent it out?" unquote

Still on as far as I am aware.  Property value at time of our entry was RM350K but that figure may have increased now. As long as you pay the 'rates' and can produce the receipt I guess you could rent it out - not sure why you would want to do that though, still need to live somewhere !!

Are Dependent elders allowed on the Sarawak MM2H - not possible under the West Malaysia version.

RPT and PR are far more attractive than MM2H

According to the Sarawak M2H FAQ I linked above it says yes...

"Q8: Who qualifies as dependents?

A8: Applicants may apply their spouse, unmarried children below the age of 18 and parents above the age of 60 as dependents. All other persons must be shown to be financially dependent on the applicant to qualify as a dependent."

Probably wouldn't happen too often as the Sarawak Program is geared for Over-50 retirees. However, I have noticed that they are increasing the health-care and geriatric care/hospice arena in Kuching. But you could live anywhere in Malaysia under the Sarawak Program so perhaps it's one way of beating the high cost of Senior support abroad. One issue for Americans (and perhaps others) - no Medicare coverage outside the home nation.

Dear Cinnamonape, Gravitas, Manukes,

Thank you very much for all your valuable options and ideas. I learned so many things in this valuable conversion.

As Cinnamonape said next year, I do visit Sarawak immigration & get more details of  Sarawak MM2H program. I also believe, it's a fairly individualized set of circumstances.

Gravitas highlighted another valuable option. "RPT visa"
For this minimum basic salary is 15k per month. For the time being, I am not capable for this.  :D

Manuks, this program is not available now. "Sarawak Property Program"
Existing applicants can continue. But they don't offer for new participants.

Again my humble thanks to every one of you. I will keep you updated in future.


You still have the option to apply for Permanent Residency after 3 years working in Malaysia and educationalists fall nicely into the type of professionals that would qualify

3 years working in Malaysia  +
To be eligible for the RP-T, applicants should earn a basic monthly salary of RM15,000 which excludes any allowances and/or bonuses.

PR is a different category all together (nothing to do with RPT)

New topic