KUALA LUMPUR – Pakatan Harapan government has no power to stop the sale of property under the Forest City project in Johor to foreign buyers, says Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah.
“This is because the multi-billion project comes under the Johor government and is located at the international zone in Gelang Patah. So there’s no restriction on foreign ownership.
“The project also does not come under the ministry’s jurisdiction,” he said when replying to a supplementary question by Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau).
Khairy asked if the government would restrict foreigners from buying the remaining unsold property in Forest City.
Raja Kamarul also said 93% of property in the project was sold to Chinese nationals with the remaining units bought by Malaysians.
To avoid the issue of exclusivity and resentment from Malaysians arising from future projects, Raja Kamarul said developers would need to carry out a social impact assessment study.
“We are aware that if there is an exclusive zone, it will give rise to resentment among locals, and this was not healthy for the local community regardless of how much investment it brings,” he said.
He assured lawmakers that the ministry was in talks with the Johor government and Forest City developers on how to include affordable homes in the project for Malaysians.
On the “Malaysia My Second Home” programme, Raja Kamarul said 4,499 foreigners were homeowners.
Of this, he said 1,664 were owned by Chinese nationals followed by British (357), Bangladeshis (250), Iranians (217), Japanese (208), Pakistanis (192), Singaporeans (175), Australians (147), South Koreans (127), Americans (115) and others (1,047).
Based on a 2010 survey carried out by the Statistics Department, he said 160,197 foreigners owned homes in the country compared to 3.6 million Malaysians.