LONDON: Applications for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme will be fast-tracked for those who had bought properties worth RM1 million and above in Malaysia.
Tourism Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Victor Wee said they must show proof such as the sale & purchase agreement and other documents when submitting their applications.
He said although purchase of property was not a prerequisite for the programme, it showed the applicants' financial capabilities.
If the person has already bought such a property in Malaysia, he would pass the test, he told Malaysian journalists after speaking at the Malaysia My Second Home & Medical Tourism seminar on Friday.
Applications are usually processed within four weeks based on four main criteriafinancial, medical, health and security background checks.
Dr Wee also urged health insurance companies to extend coverage to those above 65 years to give the programme a boost.
Britons retire at 65 and that's when they really want to go to Malaysia under the MM2H scheme, he said.
He said the insurance industry should work out a special package for those 65 years and above or even whole life coverage.
Earlier, Dr Wee said a total of 1,183 applications were approved during the first nine months of this year.
The top 10 countries were Britain (166), followed by Japan (139), Bangladesh (122), South Korea (121), China (58), Singapore (40), Sri Lanka and the United States (38 each) and India and Iran (both 33).
He said most of them chose to live in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Malacca, Langkawi and Johor with Sabah gaining popularity recently.
Dr Wee added Malaysia had been ranked seventh in the Fifth Annual Global Retirement Index survey of 29 countries by International Living magazines website, a global lifestyle, travel and investment site.
Malaysian High Commissioner to Britain Datuk Abdul Aziz Mohamed noted that just over 1,000 British nationals had joined the MM2H programme.
This was a sharp contrast to the estimated 700,000 Britons, mostly retirees, living in Spain or the relatively high number enjoying a similar programme in Thailand, he said.
Given the long historical association as well as shared traditions and values, Malaysia should be the destination of choice, he added.