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Your next home could be in Malaysia
30 Apr 2007, by Anshul Dhamija ,TNN

BANGALORE: What do you do with your disposable income? Well, for those of you who love travelling and think of keeping the price factor down a bit as well as make a good investment, you may not have to look too far.

Travelling abroad is now akin to visiting your second home. In the last two years, around 500 Indians, a number of whom are said to be agriculturalists from Chandigarh and the northern region, have registered themselves for the 'Malaysia my second home' (mm2h in short) venture that is being sponsored by the Malaysian government.

Under the scheme, the Malaysian government allows tourists to invest into the country's real estate market. It's simple, just pick a home (either in the heart of the city or an island), pick your price (upwards of Rs 18 lakh) and voila! You have a home for yourself. Interesting, for the prevailing property prices in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai won't fetch you a decent home for as low as Rs 20 lakh.

The scheme forbids individuals to lease their property or conduct any form of business from that location. But the attractiveness is the possibility of capital appreciation and the fact that you can live in your own home when you are holidaying in Malaysia. According to Noor Arif Mohd.Noor, director of Tourism Malaysia,"This tourism venture (mm2h) has been a huge success. The most number of people who have come and set home in Malaysia are the Bangladeshies and Chinese," adding that the tourismindustry is the second largest contributor to the country's economy.

Looking at the number of Indian tourists that visit Malaysia - 225,000 tourists in 2005, 279,000 tourists in 2006 and a projected 400,000 in 2007 - the Malaysian Tourism board is all upbeat about the response that is likely to come its way from the Indian consumer.

They expect the mm2h scheme to rope in anywhere between 3,000 and 4,000 Indians in the next three years. The Reserve Bank's recent move to raise the ceiling for resident individuals to invest abroad from $50,000 to $1 lakh is expected to help towards this. "We are looking to aggressively brand our project in India this year, and mostly in the southern markets," said Arif, noting that south Indians share a great affinity with Malaysia.

Out of Malaysia's total population, 9-10% of it constitutes Indians, predominantly south Indians with roots in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala or Karnataka. Also, the Malaysian Tourism board is looking at marketing its product to niche markets such as the IT Industry.

"What we are looking at is a concept where real estate helps boost the tourism industry. Given the large disposable incomes of people in India and the growing urge of a holiday destination, we are confident that the response from India will be tremendous," said Arif.

 


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