Friday, 7 July 2017

(The Star) Johor to engage with housing developers to overcome issue of 80,000 unsold properties

JOHOR BARU: There is a glut of about 80,000 bumiputra properties statewide and the government hopes to engage developers to find ways to overcome this.

The properties, worth tens of millions of ringgit, comprises condominiums, apartments, shop lots, industrial lots and luxury houses.

State Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Md Jais Sarday said he would be having a discussion with the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) soon.

“I have been told that developers are facing a lot of constraints, including cash flow as a result of holding on to the bumi units for long periods.

“We have to find a win-win situation to address this issue as we need developers to continue building low and affordable homes,” he said in an interview.

Md Jais said it would be his first engagement with Rehda and that he wanted to get their views as part of a long-term strategy to improve the housing policies in the state.

Asked about the ongoing raids nationwide by the Immigration Department to flush out illegals, Md Jais said so far, he has not received any complaints.

However, he said the state government would continue to monitor the situation closely as there were many projects taking shape statewide.

“If there are problems, especially those involving government-linked companies or strategic development projects, we can look into the matter on a case by case basis,” he said, adding that all employers had been given ample time to register their illegal workers.

Johor Rehda chairman Datuk Steve Chong lauded such meetings with the state government, describing them as “constructive”, so that a suitable solution could be found to reduce the number of bumi units.

“These unsold bumi lots are a problem facing all developers. All projects in Johor are required to set aside a 40% portion as bumi units,” he said, adding that previously, the unsold bumi lots were released in stages after a period of nine months.

Chong said they also hoped to request the state government to lower the ceiling price for foreigners to own high-rise properties from the RM1mil threshold to RM500,000.

“We also support the government’s move to build more affordable homes in Johor but they will need to lower the development cost, especially the various fees imposed by state agencies.

“These charges are passed to consumers, causing the prices of properties to increase,” he added.