Not official yet. Undecided. Assess first. Please write in to me.

This article received a lot of clicks yesterday: Country Garden’s CEO’s earlier confidence and our PM’s latest remarks ‘not for foreigners’  Anyway, the main person for real estate industry has spoken. Our Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said that the decision to ban foreign buyers for units in Country Garden Holdings’ Forest City development in Johor is not official yet.  She said, “For the time being, it is still undecided if they can sell property to foreigners. We must assess [the situation] and then provide the prime minister with a report.” She urged Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd to write to her ministry to discuss the conditions for selling the units in Forest City to non-Malaysians. About our PM’s statement yesterday “One thing is certain, that city that is going to be built cannot be sold to foreigners,” this is her comment. She said the prime minister’s remark was plain. Besides, there has been no official statement on the matter from the Prime Minister’s Office besides his verbal response to reporters. Full article in Edgeprop here. 

According to the state’s Housing and Rural Development Committee chairman Dzulkefly Ahmad, the federal and state governments had not discussed the matter and had urged all parties to not jump to conclusions over the prime minister’s statement, reported The Star. He also pointed out that the previous state government had set up international investment zones for foreign investors. These include Medini which has special exemptions so that it could attract talent from overseas. There has also been many quotes from property consultants who warned that it will be bad for the the state’s property market because it will not just hurt sales of existing launches by Country Garden but also that of developers – both foreign and local – in the state, and deter individual and institutional investments from abroad.

Latest remarks from KGV International Property Consultants (M) Sdn Bhd director Samuel Tan Wee Cheng. He hopes that the project will be completed as planned. He said, “Do not turn the project into a white elephant as it is not good for Iskandar Malaysia and the country.” Here’s the full article in TheStar.   He also shared, “Johor’s economic prospects, especially tourism and services sectors, will benefit directly and indirectly from the project in terms of tourist dollars.” The authorities could take the initiative to promote Johor as a new new tourist attraction.

Personally, I think uncertainties are bad. The more transparent we are, the more level would be the playing field. I would dislike any insider news for example. Remember the times of 1997 / 1998 when the ringgit was up and down all the time? It hurt businesses badly until the ringgit was pegged. There were lots of complaints but it gave everyone a sense of certainty. Businesses could now trade without fear of currency volatility. I think this is the same for the property market. We just need to spell out all the policies clearly. Malaysia remains a very attractive country to invest in and especially Johor because Singapore is right next door. Let’s wait for even more clearer announcements, hopefully from the Prime Minister’s office instead of everyone else. We also should note that Country Garden is not a fully Chinese owned investment. Happy following.

written on 29 Aug 2018

Next suggested article:  Recent updates for Johor: RTS, Flights and Ferry

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