The Johor state government has proposed a 30 percent Malaysian quota for properties in the Forest City, amid concerns of mainland Chinese immigrating to the state.
However, Johor Housing and Rural Development Committee chairperson Dzulkefly Ahmad said, the proposed quota is not final as it was based on initial findings on the mega project.
“The local Malaysian quota for property ownership in Forest City is seen as a fair restriction as almost all other development projects in Johor are bound by the state government’s various quotas to safeguard land," Dzulkefly was quoted as saying by the Malay Mail.
"We hope the proposal will be positively received by the special committee consisting of the Johor state government, the Housing and Local Government Ministry, the Finance Ministry and also Forest City developers Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd,” he said.
The special committee announced six days ago to look into foreign ownership in Forest City, he said, has yet to convene.
Dzulkefly (photo, below) lauded the establishment of the special committee as certain guidelines and rules concerning the Forest City project could be made clear to the public.
Built by China's Country Garden Holdings Company in a joint-venture with businesses held by the Johor sultan, Forest City is envisioned as a sprawling 13.86sq-km smart city built on four artificial islands.
The developer has projected a population of 700,000 by 2035, but the project has mostly been marketed to foreigners.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had previously said Malaysia will no longer allow foreigners to buy the residential units in the RM410 billion Forest City project in Johor.
However, Forest City disputed the prime minister's statement, saying that he had told them otherwise.
Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali said the government would review the Forest City project as some of the units within the development were being offered in exchange for investment in China.
Dzulkefly said the state government did not view the Forest City project as having many issues as such, adding that foreign investment has benefited the state while creating job opportunities for locals.
While the state government respected the federal government’s probe into the matter, he noted the need to correct various perceptions about the project, such as an influx of Chinese immigrants.
The developer has told the state government that only five percent of foreigners who purchased properties in the mega project have formally applied for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme as of June 2018, he said.
The new state government had met the developer to get a better understanding of the situation, he added.
Dzulkefly reminded all parties that matters related to Johor’s land, water and forest were within the purview of the state government.
“For normal development in the state, all developers will have to adhere to the quota ratio for properties located on international lots, such as the bumiputera quota and also the minimum RM1 million ceiling price quota for foreigners.
"Projects such as Forest City were given special considerations by the previous BN-led administration,” he explained.