Purchasing Residential Properties In Sarawak: A Foreigner’s Guide

Sarawak, or more fondly referred to as the ‘Land of the Hornbills’, is a melting pot comprising some 27 ethnic groups, each with its own language, culture, heritage, and way of life. It is a land of colours and unique experiences; an ideal destination for retirement, recreation, and relaxation.

Yes, they can. Based on Section 13(E)(2) of the Sarawak Land Code (Cap. 81)(hereinafter referred to as ‘the Land Code’):

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Code or other written law relating to land, a foreign person, foreign company, foreign corporation or other foreign body may acquire an estate, interest or right in –

(a)    any land within a Special Development (Exemption from Prohibition of Foreign Interests) Area; or

(b)    any of the individual parcels within a building which has been sub-divided pursuant to the Strata Titles Ordinance, 1995 [Cap. 18], or the former Strata Titles Ordinance, 1974 [Ord. No. 3/74]

(c)    any land with a building thereon for residential purpose and the market value of such land and building is not less than such amount as may be determined by the Minister by a direction published in the Gazette.

Pursuant to the direction published titled ‘The Land (Market Value of Property for Foreign Acquisition) (Amendment) Direction, 2019’ made under section 13E(2)(c) of the Land Code, the current prescribed amount under subsection (c) above shall be RM500,000.00 (throughout the state of Sarawak), except for Kuching Division where the market value concerned shall not be less than RM600,000.00.

Alongside the Land Code, purchase of properties by foreign individuals is covered by Malaysia’s Guidelines on the Acquisition of Properties.

Sarawak offers a special avenue for residential property purchases via the S-MM2H programme, which offers a renewable ten-year maximum, multiple-entry visa.

Besides the age criteria, other eligibility requirements include being able to demonstrate a certain level of financial liquidity, either through cash in bank or offshore income.

Generally, those aged 40 years and above can apply, while those aged below 40 years old are required to meet various conditions. Under the programme, the minimum price of residential properties they can purchase has also been increased from RM350,000 to RM600,000 for the Kuching Division and from RM300,000 to RM500,000 for other divisions in Sarawak.

In addition, all S-MM2H pass holders must stay a minimum of 15 days per year in the state to qualify them for a renewal of the pass after five years. Their parents and children, aged below 21 years old and not married, are allowed to accompany them.

For more information about the programme, please visit https://mtac.sarawak.gov.my/  or call us for assistance.

Yes, subject to various terms and conditions as imposed by the banks. We will be able to assist you on this.

Generally, the processes, legal documentation and costs such as stamp duties for foreign purchases are similar to those applicable for purchases by Malaysians. Please refer to ‘A Guide To Purchase Your New Home In Sarawak’ in our website for more information, or give us a call!