Foreigners banned from buying property in large Chinese project in Malaysia’s Johor

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Foreigners will not be allowed to buy residential units anymore in a huge development in Johor state in southern Peninsular Malaysia backed by Chinese developer Country Garden Holdings, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on August 27.

The move is seen as part of Mahathir’s efforts to scale back what in his view are unfavourable Chinese investments in Malaysia.

“Our objection is because it was built for foreigners, not built for Malaysians. Most Malaysians are unable to buy those flats,” he said, adding that “we are not going to give visas for people to come and live here.”

The ban affects the $100-billion Forest City development by Country Garden in Johor, which was designed to become home for no less than 700,000 people. The 14-square-kilometer development stretches over four artificial islands off Johor and includes an American international school that has just been launched and a golf course that is expected to be completed later this year.

So far, Country Garden has developed just a fraction of the planned land reclamation, where Chinese nationals accounted for about 70 per cent of apartment buyers last year. Others were from Vietnam, South Korea and Japan. It has not been clarified yet whether existing buyers would receive a residence permit.

However, demand has faltered since the surprise election win of Mahathir’s party, as well as from new capital controls imposed by Beijing that dissuaded Chinese buyers. Opposition to the project helped drive Mahathir’s election campaign, during which he called Chinese-backed projects “evidence” of his predecessor “selling Malaysia to China.”

Mahathir said that he keeps welcoming foreign investments from China which would “create employment opportunities, promote technology transfer and innovations that could benefit Malaysia’s economic growth and job creation.”

In a first reaction, Country Garden said that Mahathir’s comments may have been taken “out of context” and they were in touch with the Prime Minister’s Office for clarification.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Foreigners will not be allowed to buy residential units anymore in a huge development in Johor state in southern Peninsular Malaysia backed by Chinese developer Country Garden Holdings, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on August 27.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Foreigners will not be allowed to buy residential units anymore in a huge development in Johor state in southern Peninsular Malaysia backed by Chinese developer Country Garden Holdings, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on August 27.

The move is seen as part of Mahathir’s efforts to scale back what in his view are unfavourable Chinese investments in Malaysia.

“Our objection is because it was built for foreigners, not built for Malaysians. Most Malaysians are unable to buy those flats,” he said, adding that “we are not going to give visas for people to come and live here.”

The ban affects the $100-billion Forest City development by Country Garden in Johor, which was designed to become home for no less than 700,000 people. The 14-square-kilometer development stretches over four artificial islands off Johor and includes an American international school that has just been launched and a golf course that is expected to be completed later this year.

So far, Country Garden has developed just a fraction of the planned land reclamation, where Chinese nationals accounted for about 70 per cent of apartment buyers last year. Others were from Vietnam, South Korea and Japan. It has not been clarified yet whether existing buyers would receive a residence permit.

However, demand has faltered since the surprise election win of Mahathir’s party, as well as from new capital controls imposed by Beijing that dissuaded Chinese buyers. Opposition to the project helped drive Mahathir’s election campaign, during which he called Chinese-backed projects “evidence” of his predecessor “selling Malaysia to China.”

Mahathir said that he keeps welcoming foreign investments from China which would “create employment opportunities, promote technology transfer and innovations that could benefit Malaysia’s economic growth and job creation.”

In a first reaction, Country Garden said that Mahathir’s comments may have been taken “out of context” and they were in touch with the Prime Minister’s Office for clarification.

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