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Country Garden’s CEO’s earlier confidence and our PM’s latest remarks ‘not for foreigners’

Just days ago, this was what Hong Kong-listed property developer Country Garden Holdings founder and chairman Yeung Kwok Keung said of Malaysia as reported in Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau. “I am confident that Malaysia, under the leadership of [Prime Minister] Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, will continue to welcome foreign businesses and investors. Therefore, I intend to invest more in Malaysia in the coming years, potentially in the area of modern agriculture and robotics industry, as per the country’s law and regulations.”  He met PM Tun Dr.Mahathir in Parliament on 16 August 2018. Yeung is the founder of China’s largest property developer in terms of sales revenue and is the second Chinese billionaire businessman to visit Dr Mahathir after Jack Ma from Alibaba Group. Yeung also stressed this, “I will ensure any and all business activities by Country Garden Holdings will strictly comply with the laws and regulations in Malaysia.

We will achieve sustainable development in Malaysia through proper legal compliance.” Malaysia is the developer’s largest overseas market. Yeung added, “With the Prime Minister as one of the pioneers in building up ASEAN, a strategic location, established legal system, diverse culture, healthy young workforce, stable political landscape and favourable economic policies, I strongly believe that Malaysia is the gateway to the whole of the Southeast Asia market.” Please refer to the full article in theedgemarkets.com: Country Garden considers increasing investments in Malaysia. 

This was reported in many media today. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that Malaysia will not allow foreigners to buy residential units in the US$100-billion Forest City project in its southern state of Johor bordering Singapore. He said, “One thing is certain, that city that is going to be built cannot be sold to foreigners.” He added, “We are not going to give visas for people to come and live here. Our objection is because it was built for foreigners, not built for Malaysians. Most Malaysians are unable to buy those flats.”  It was also reported that Malaysians living in Johor complained about large numbers of Chinese buyers in Forest City as well as the concerns of environmental damage, a glut in the property market, and the impact of land reclamation on fisheries. Currently, Country Garden has developed just a fraction of the planned reclamation of 20 sq km (8 sq miles). In 2017, 70 percent of all the buyers into Country Garden project in Malaysia were Chinese nationals. Full report in theedgemarkets.com here. 

Yes, today I received two forwarded news about this ‘only foreigners are allowed to buy into Forest City.’ My personal opinion remains the same. Wait for the final confirmation on this as well as the announcements on whether this is temporary or if this is effective from now onwards or even if all the previous buyers are asked to sell their units to locals/ Frankly, when it comes to Johor Bahru, we want not just people who buy homes but we also want industries to be set up here. The more industries, we have the higher the employment opportunities. Only then would we have more demand for homes.  Secondly, if JB can only grow simply because of property investments from foreigners, then we are living very dangerously. Perhaps a few more days and we will see more announcements and explanations from the Minister of Housing and Local Government as well as the Menteri Besar of Johor and perhaps more. Who knows, we could even have some suggestions from the Team of Eminent Person’s (TEP) report after 100 days? In the mean time, happy following.

written on 27 Aug 2018

Next suggested article:  Another RM1 billion investment from China into Johor 

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