Malaysia halts property developments exclusively for foreigners

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The Malaysian government will no longer allow property developments and new townships solely aimed at foreign buyers in a bid to reduce “mindless foreign investments” which would not be of benefit for the Malaysian people.

Malaysia’s Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said on September 24 that no country would accept the construction of housing projects aimed mainly or only at foreign buyers. However, he clarified that foreigners are still welcome to acquire properties in Malaysia, but projects built exclusively for them would be a thing of the past.

“Let me be clear that our Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad does not oppose foreigners buying properties in Malaysia, but when townships are built exclusively for foreigners, how does that benefit the country and Malaysians? This, the government will not accept,” Lim was quoted as saying in his keynote speech at the 2018 Annual Property Developers Conference.

“Don’t worry,” he told developers, “we are not preventing foreigners from buying your projects. After all, the projects are open and available to everyone, Malaysians and foreigners.”

He rejected the notion that Malaysia has turned hostile to foreign businesses, saying nothing could be further from the truth. He said Malaysia welcomed foreign direct investment “as long as it brings tangible benefits to the people and does not overburden the nation.”

“We want high-quality investments flowing into the country that are creating high-quality jobs for the people in line with our objective of creating high-quality growth shared among Malaysians. We do not need mindless growth just for good GDP numbers, which has no relevance to the people and where the people do not reap any benefits,” he added.

He did not mention any specific projects but Prime Minister Mahathir had in recent weeks had railed against the Forest City development on four man-made islands in the Johor Strait. The township had been heavily marketed to mainland Chinese buyers and other foreigners.

The project is led by Chinese developer Country Garden Pacificview and has been designed to become home to a whopping 700,000 people which is about the population size of Penang’s capital Georgetown. Some 70 per cent of home buyers there so far are from China. Country Garden said it had complied with all laws and regulations and had the necessary approvals to sell to foreign buyers.

The Malaysian government is now studying the feasibility of reducing foreign ownership in the Forest City development. Mahathir said that foreigners can buy residential units at the $100-billion Forest City development, but they would not be issued visas to live there.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Malaysian government will no longer allow property developments and new townships solely aimed at foreign buyers in a bid to reduce “mindless foreign investments” which would not be of benefit for the Malaysian people.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Malaysian government will no longer allow property developments and new townships solely aimed at foreign buyers in a bid to reduce “mindless foreign investments” which would not be of benefit for the Malaysian people.

Malaysia’s Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said on September 24 that no country would accept the construction of housing projects aimed mainly or only at foreign buyers. However, he clarified that foreigners are still welcome to acquire properties in Malaysia, but projects built exclusively for them would be a thing of the past.

“Let me be clear that our Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad does not oppose foreigners buying properties in Malaysia, but when townships are built exclusively for foreigners, how does that benefit the country and Malaysians? This, the government will not accept,” Lim was quoted as saying in his keynote speech at the 2018 Annual Property Developers Conference.

“Don’t worry,” he told developers, “we are not preventing foreigners from buying your projects. After all, the projects are open and available to everyone, Malaysians and foreigners.”

He rejected the notion that Malaysia has turned hostile to foreign businesses, saying nothing could be further from the truth. He said Malaysia welcomed foreign direct investment “as long as it brings tangible benefits to the people and does not overburden the nation.”

“We want high-quality investments flowing into the country that are creating high-quality jobs for the people in line with our objective of creating high-quality growth shared among Malaysians. We do not need mindless growth just for good GDP numbers, which has no relevance to the people and where the people do not reap any benefits,” he added.

He did not mention any specific projects but Prime Minister Mahathir had in recent weeks had railed against the Forest City development on four man-made islands in the Johor Strait. The township had been heavily marketed to mainland Chinese buyers and other foreigners.

The project is led by Chinese developer Country Garden Pacificview and has been designed to become home to a whopping 700,000 people which is about the population size of Penang’s capital Georgetown. Some 70 per cent of home buyers there so far are from China. Country Garden said it had complied with all laws and regulations and had the necessary approvals to sell to foreign buyers.

The Malaysian government is now studying the feasibility of reducing foreign ownership in the Forest City development. Mahathir said that foreigners can buy residential units at the $100-billion Forest City development, but they would not be issued visas to live there.

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