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The Sarawak My Second Home Program (SMM2H). It’s NOT What You Think!

Sarawak, is Malaysia's largest state on the island of Borneo, and it does offer a ‘migration’ program or, more accurately, a long-term relocation / retirement program. But it is important to understand what the SMM2H program does NOT offer.


Sarawak, Exceptional Beauty
Sarawak My Second Home

Sarawak's My Second Home (SMM2H) scheme beckons to individuals seeking a new chapter of life amidst lush rain forests, vibrant communities, and a plethora of exciting opportunities. This is a Sarawak State Government initiative. It is specific to Sarawak. It is separate and distinct from the Malaysia My Second Home program that comes under the Federal Government of Malaysia.


If you are looking to relocate or retire to a tropical paradise that offers a unique blend of culture, adventure, natural beauty and a sedentary lifestyle, then Sarawak could be your sanctuary. The SMM2H scheme is designed for individuals seeking to make Sarawak their long-term home. Applicants are expected to demonstrate a genuine intention to reside in Sarawak and contribute positively to its society and economy. The SMM2H scheme grants successful applicants a renewable ten-year visa, subject to certain conditions. However, it is essential to adhere to the stipulated residency requirements and visa regulations to maintain eligibility under the scheme. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in the immediate revocation of the visa.


First and foremost, it is important to understand what the SMM2H program does NOT offer. Be advised that the SMM2H scheme is NOT a pathway to:


  1. Residence in Peninsular Malaysia: Participants cannot reside permanently anywhere else in Malaysia outside of Sarawak. The SMM2H program is specifically designed for individuals seeking to establish their second home in Sarawak. It does NOT grant eligibility to reside say, in Kuala Lumpur, or anywhere else in Malaysia. However, successful applicants under the SMM2H program may travel to Peninsular Malaysia for tourism or business purposes, subject to the usual visa requirements for any foreigner. To travel to Peninsular Malaysia, SMM2H participants typically need to apply for a visa issued by the Malaysian immigration authorities. This could include a tourist visa, business visa, or other types of visas depending on the purpose and duration of their visit.

  2. Business in Malaysia: Participants cannot engage in business or employment in business activities in Malaysia, whether in Sarawak or peninsular Malaysia. The scheme is designed for individuals seeking to retire or enjoy a leisurely lifestyle rather than pursue professional endeavors.

  3. Work Permits: The SMM2H program is NOT a work permit that allows participants to seek employment in Malaysia. Therefore, individuals who wish to work or engage in business ventures must explore alternative visa options tailored to their specific needs and objectives.

  4. Commerce: A SMM2H residence visa does not entitle the participant to conduct commercial activities or establish businesses. Any investments made should align with the spirit of the scheme, focusing on personal enrichment and community development rather than profit-driven ventures.

Why has Sarawak placed these restrictions on the scheme? To understand these rules, applicants need to understand the Sarawak State Government policy considerations behind the SMM2H initiative.


Broadly speaking, Sarawak recognizes the importance of diversifying its economy beyond traditional sectors such as agriculture and natural resource extraction. By attracting foreign retirees, investors and individuals seeking leisurely lifestyles, Sarawak aims to stimulate economic growth through increased consumer spending, investments, and job creation in various sectors, including real estate, hospitality, and services.


The SMM2H program generates revenue for Sarawak through application fees, visa charges, and property investments made by participants. These financial inflows contribute to government coffers and fund public infrastructure projects, social welfare programs, and community development initiatives, ultimately benefiting the local population.


What the SMM2H Scheme Offers:


  1. Residential Privileges: Successful applicants of the SMM2H scheme enjoy the privilege of residing in Sarawak, Malaysia's largest state renowned for its lush rainforests, diverse wildlife, and vibrant cultural tapestry. Whether you're drawn to the bustling city life of Kuching or the serene beauty of rural communities, Sarawak offers a plethora of residential options to suit every lifestyle.

  2. Investment Opportunities: While not mandatory, the SMM2H scheme encourages applicants to make investments in Sarawak. This could include purchasing property, investing in local businesses (but not participate in day to day management or be in any way employed in the business), or contributing to the state's economic development such as education infrastructure, vocational training centers, skills development programs, conservation projects, eco-friendly initiatives, and sustainable development programs. Such investments not only enrich the lives of applicants but also foster growth and prosperity within the local community.

  3. Cultural Immersion: Sarawak boasts a rich cultural heritage, with indigenous tribes, Malay, Chinese, and Indian communities coexisting harmoniously. Through the SMM2H scheme, applicants have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Sarawak's diverse cultural tapestry, participating in festivals, culinary experiences, and traditional customs.

For Foreign Nationals:

While the SMM2H scheme offers a pathway to calling Sarawak your second home and enjoying its myriad benefits, it is crucial to recognize its limitations. By understanding what the scheme entails and what it does not allow, applicants can make informed decisions and embark on their journey to embrace a new chapter of life in Sarawak with clarity and confidence.


For Sarawak and it’s People:

Overall, the SMM2H program aligns with Sarawak's vision of sustainable development, inclusive growth and global engagement. By offering a welcoming environment for foreign nationals to establish a second home, Sarawak enhances its competitiveness on the global stage, while simultaneously reaping economic, social and cultural dividends for the benefit of its residents and stakeholders.

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