Minister Zuraida at Smart Cities Asia 2019 Conference

Sell Properties to China or Hong Kong, Says Minister

I said even a minister can’t afford (the flat in Hong Kong).

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin

KUALA LUMPUR — Putrajaya may organise another Home Ownership Campaign (HOC), only this time for buyers in China and Hong Kong, said Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.

But, she said, only high-end homes will be sold to them.

“I was thinking of the unsold units in the high-end market, now we have RM100 billion worth of it,” she told reporters on the side lines of the Smart Cities Asia 2019 conference.

“So I was thinking we should organise a HOC campaign in China or in Hong Kong where we can attract these people to come invest here and buy homes.”

Homes here, she said, were cheaper than in Hong Kong and gave the example of a 250 sq ft flat she saw there which cost RM3 million.

“I said even a minister can’t afford (the flat in Hong Kong).”

She said she would still need to discuss the matter with the Cabinet and that she wanted to get Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Mohammadin Ketapi involved.

“As it is, private developers have gone there individually to sell their units.”

However, vocal pressure group Consumers Association of Penang has warned that a promotion drive by local developers to attract Hong Kong investors to buy properties in Malaysia in the wake of the political crisis on the island city could push house prices beyond the reach of ordinary citizens due to an increase in demand.

Zuraida also answered questions pertaining to the rebranding of People’s Housing Projects (PPRs).

Zuraida said the housing ministry was only rebranding the PPR scheme to a rent-to-own scheme, but refused to reveal the new name for the scheme for now. She added that the ministry would be launching the programme in mid-September, and more details would be revealed then.

Politicians from Pakatan Harapan and the opposition and experts have voiced their objection to the reported plan to scrap the PPR rental scheme in favour of a programme where public housing units costing from RM35,000 to RM42,000 would be sold for at least twice the amount.

She said the rental element would remain, but it would now be a rent-to-own concept.

“The houses in the rent-to-own scheme are bigger with proper facilities and situated in strategic areas. That itself is a different concept from the PPR. This means they will have a home and after several years, they will own the home.

“When they enter this rent-to-own scheme, they enter an ownership scheme, because banks will look at their payment track record and give approval for bank loans in the future.”

Meanwhile, on RaudhahVille, Zuraida said that it should not be a problem for Muslim and non-Muslims to live in one community under an Islamic code because Islamic values were universal values.

RhaudahVille is Malaysia’s first gated and guarded Islamic-themed community, where Muslims and non-Muslims would live as neighbours under an Islamic code.

“At the moment, I don’t think we need to force into place regulations for ethnic balance in a community. It’s a free market.”