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PETALING JAYA: InternationalLiving.com’s annual Global Retirement Index 2014 has listed Malaysia as the third best place to retire for North Americans.

The annual index which is now in its 23rd year, listed 24 countries and Panama came out tops, while South American nation Ecuador came in second in the index that was released two days ago.

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MALAYSIA WOOS THEM: Chinese, Japanese, Bangladeshis, Britons and Iranians given long-stay approvals

A TOTAL of 22,320 foreigners from 122 countries have been given long-stay approval under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.

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FOREIGNERS intending to participate in the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme may soon be required to have RM2 million in a fixed deposit account here before being eligible for the programme.

This is what the Ministry of Tourism and Culture is mulling over in its bid to attract more quality applicants under the programme.

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“Compared to similar cities in neighbouring countries, we still have plenty of room to grow. To build a global city, we need foreign direct investments. We also have to be competitive because many other countries offer a lot of extra incentives and special attractive packages to foreign investors,” said Tee while suggesting that one of the ideas that the government should consider is giving Permanent Resident status to genuine property investors in MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home) programmes to encourage more foreigners to invest in property in this country.

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Malaysia was one of the world's top 10 tourist destinations last year, making it the only South-East Asian country to make the list in the United Nations World Trade Organisation (UNWTO) Tourism Highlights 2012.

The report rated Malaysia ninth based on international tourists arrival, with 24.7 million foreign tourists last year.

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Sometimes bigger really is better.

That's the prevailing shopper's ethic in Kuala Lumpur, anyway.

Three of the world's 10 largest malls are in KL, including 1 Utama, the world's fourth-largest mall with more than 650 shops, Asia's largest indoor rock climbing facility, massive rooftop garden with 500 species of exotic plants and indoor rainforest with koi ponds and freshwater aquarium.

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The Ministry of Tourism Malaysia is targeting 3,000 approved participants this year in the MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home) programme, up from 2,387 in 2011.

“Looking at the trends from existing and new markets and with promotional efforts by Tourism Malaysia, we are confident that we will be able to achieve this year‘s target of 3,000 approved par- ticipants,” said Siti Nani, director of MM2H Centre.

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