Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: Forest City claims - Dr M playing politics, not economics

Yoursay  |  Published:  |  Modified:

YOURSAY | ‘Foreigners buying property in M’sia and getting PR are two separate matters.’

Dr M: Does MB prefer Forest City for foreigners, wooden houses for M'sians?

Lodestar: It doesn't seem nice for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to criticise a Pakatan Harapan state government so sharply in public when he can seek clarification and discussion. I fail to see his concern.

Foreigners buying property in Malaysia and getting permanent residence or citizenship are two separate matters. There is nothing to say that one has to follow the other.

A lot of foreigners may be willing to buy overseas properties as an investment for rental or capital appreciation, not for residence.

If there is a problem with that, the appropriate laws can be put in to protect locals from the ill effects. But there is no need to fear being swamped by China nationals as though the government has no choice.

CKL: "Because these people have money and can invest, they are business savvy and can build beautiful buildings. But we will live in wooden houses. If that's what we want, it's okay, I will support the menteri besar of Johor," said Mahathir.

This is bad thinking and poor logic. The positions are not mutually exclusive.

If foreigners bring in lots of money, it allows us to use it for investments, to create jobs, and all working Malaysians will benefit. Richer Malaysians can move out of their wooden houses and buy into Forest City!

That should be the way to think. Win-win, not win-lose.

Land is in abundance in the Iskandar region, so it is not the constraining factor to development. A better developed Johor will benefit everyone.

It is dangerous to send wrong signals to confuse and frighten foreigners. We need their money, expertise and experience.

We have seven million low talent foreigners in Malaysia who are depressing wages so our minimum wage of RM1,050 is lower than what these people earn. Do something about this to enrich Malaysians.

Anonymous_4031c: I am not able to agree with Mahathir on this as much as I have great respect for him. You don't change course mid-stream.

In any event, his concerns can be addressed by the Immigration Department as foreigners cannot just come and stay in Malaysia and open shops. They will have to comply with our laws to stay here.

The business and investment environment is already difficult enough. Don't make it more difficult with contradictory statements being made. We don't need this now to move forward.

Anonymous #12566075: I don't think there is anything wrong with selling houses to foreigners as this happens all over the world. But if that causes inflated house prices, it should be curbed.

The question we should ask is: Are Johor house prices too high for local people?

If we want foreigners to buy houses without giving them resident visas, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Puzzling: One only needs to visit China to observe how progressive they are, with a relentless push towards a higher standard of living.

Minus the rural areas, wages in many cities in China have already surpassed ours. Do you really think many of them wish to live here given our discriminatory policies?

In any case, the Johor MB did not say that while the China Chinese stay in luxury houses, Malaysians have to live in cheap houses. Mahathir is just putting words in his mouth.

Just in case Mahathir has forgotten, land is a state matter and hence the power to sell or not to sell to foreigners rests with the states.

Also in case Mahathir is confused, the Malaysia My Second Home programme does not require a foreigner to buy any property, fixed deposits will do. Hence it has no relation to the purchasing of properties in Forest City. 

It is presumptuous of Mahathir to assume that these foreign Chinese want to apply for permanent residency and citizenship.

Even if they want to, the power to grant them rests entirely in the hands of the federal government. Hence it is far-fetched to assume that these 700,000 will become permanent residents or citizens. That is utter nonsense.

Miaowing: I think Mahathir’s argument this time is regressive in nature. As we know the obvious, instead of blaming others, we ought to reflect and address why our locals cannot afford such properties and how to effectively bring up our society to be on par or better internationally.

Pak Lam: This issue is not as simple and straightforward as most people think. We need clear policies to help define and clarify what we want to achieve with regard to foreign property investment.

Not that there aren't any such policies, but perhaps they require review given current trends and conditions.

Mahathir and Harapan need to focus on national objectives (like development) and steps to address concerns (whether it's nationalism, social issues) without pulling rabbit punches at investors (Chinese per se in this case, but it could be anybody) so that we do not appear xenophobic.

Mind you, Mahathir doesn't abhor the Chinese, he wouldn't have visited China if he did and neither is he daft enough to antagonise them.

Anonymous_1529132749: Mahathir is playing politics and not economics again. Rich and poor could both be catered for, the two are not mutually exclusive.

Siberia: There seem to be mixed reactions from all commenters here, including myself. On one hand, what's wrong with these rich people spending money here and boosting our domestic consumption?

On the other hand, is Mahathir worried that these 700,000 people, mainly mainland Chinese buyers, will be given citizenship and voting rights?

If yes, then this is a case of Mahathir tasting his own medicine - Mahathir was the alleged mastermind of Project IC in Sabah in the 90s where 700,000 foreigners were allegedly granted citizenship in Sabah.

Many viewed the project as politically motivated as it altered the voting pattern in Sabah to favour the ruling government.

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These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.

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