Foreigners-only townships not allowed in Malaysia, Lim Guan Eng tells developers

While the Malaysian government is not against foreigners owning property in the country, it will not allow townships and residential projects to be developed exclusively for them, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said on Monday (Sept 24).

He said no country would accept developments that did not benefit its own people.

“Foreigners buying property is not a problem. We welcome that because they are putting money in Malaysia.

“But if you build a township for foreign citizens… and give them a free unit for (property) they buy (from you elsewhere), how does it benefit Malaysians?

“When a township is built exclusively for foreigners, we question how that benefits Malaysia and Malaysians,” Mr Lim said in a speech at the launch of the Rehda Institute’s annual property development conference on Monday.

He did not name the developer responsible for such a project, but it has been reported that Chinese developer Country Garden Holdings Co has tied its mega residential development, Forest City in Johor, to other property investment opportunities it offers for cross-selling purposes in China.

Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali three weeks ago revealed that the developer had a programme offering those who invested a certain sum a free unit in Forest City.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has also been critical of the Forest City project, and had recently caused some confusion when he said foreigners would be banned from buying properties in the development.

The Prime Minister’s Office later clarified that while foreigners could own property in Malaysia, their investments did not guarantee them residency in Malaysia.

Mr Lim today reiterated that the prime minister was not opposed to foreigners owning property in Malaysia.

“When foreign investment comes in, (one needs to) take into account the needs of the local people.

“I don’t think any country would accept this (projects exclusively for foreign residents). Remember this when Dr Mahathir expresses reservations, he is not opposing foreigners owning property in Malaysia.

“We are not preventing foreigners from buying your projects,” Mr Lim told the conference, drawing applause.

He said foreign investors in Malaysia should ensure they gave business to local businessmen and employed local workers instead of bringing in “100 per cent workers from their country”.

Source: Today – 24 Sep 2018

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