Zuraida clarifies ‘confusion’ over selling properties to China, HK

Modified 12 Sep 2019, 2:20 pm

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin has clarified that the government is proposing to resolve the glut in high-end properties by marketing it abroad through the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, not the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) as previously mentioned.

“To resolve this problem, the government is proposing to hold House Expo Campaigns abroad through the MM2H programme, not the HOC that I mentioned yesterday that has caused confusion,” she said in a statement today.

She added that the MM2H scheme has been open to foreigners since 2002, and is subject to stringent requirements as monitored by the Home Ministry and Tourism and Culture Ministry.

She had merely highlighted mainland China and Hong Kong as potential markets for such campaigns, she clarified, because of the high property prices in those places compared to Malaysia.

The HOC was an initiative announced by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng for the 2019 budget.

Under HOC, local house-buyers would be exempted from stamp duty for the purchase of residential units built between January and December 2019.

Developers would also offer attractive discounts and packages for house purchases made during this period.

The MM2H scheme, meanwhile, is meant to encourage expatriates to settle in Malaysia as permanent residents.

Zuraida had told reporters at the fifth Smart Cities Asia Conference 2019 yesterday that the government is considering attracting China and Hong Kong buyers through HOC as a way to tackle the glut in high-end properties.

The National House Buyers Association has warned that the plan could backfire, saying that government intervention could encourage developers to continue to build more high-end properties even though it doesn’t meet the needs of the Malaysian housing market.

In Zuraida’s statement today, she said the glut of unsold properties worth over RM1 million had accumulated to RM100 billion, based on the Real Estate & Housing Developers' Association’s statistics.

“The proposal (to market high-end properties abroad) takes into account other factors such as avoiding the pile-up of ‘white elephant’ projects that are not good for the national economy, and resolves social problems that could arise if the houses are unoccupied.

“The proposal would stimulate the country’s economy, draw foreign investment and tourism into the country, and increase human capital through the sharing of skills and experiences of expatriates who enter the country legally,” she said.

She added that the move would not distract her from focusing on affordable housing programmes aimed at the B40 and M40 income groups.

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