LANGKAWI, Oct 13 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said the decision to lower the threshold on high rise property prices in urban areas for foreign ownership from RM1 million to RM600,000 was meant to reduce supply overhang of condominiums and apartments.
He stressed that the decision does not mean that foreigners who bought the property would be given Malaysian citizenship.
“If the locals want to buy the property, they can buy it at the same (reduced) price, but we still have supply overhang. We have built so many houses, but they were not sold. When a housing project is not sold, it causes the country to suffer losses.
“We want to get rid of this property overhang…so that we can raise the price back to RM800,000, RM1 million or RM2 million. This is a way to encourage the sale.
“But if foreigners bought the property, we will not give them Malaysian citizenship. They can only use it as their holiday home,” Dr Mahathir, who is also Langkawi Member of Parliament, told a press conference after attending a briefing on Langkawi’s development here.
Also present were Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) chief executive officer Dr Hezri Adnan, Langkawi District Officer Muhammad Arof Darus and Tourism City of Langkawi Municipal Council president Radzuan Osman.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng when tabling Budget 2020 last Friday announced that in a bid to reduce supply overhang of condominiums and apartments amounting to RM8.3 billion in the second quarter of 2019, the government will lower the threshold on high rise property prices in urban areas for foreign ownership from RM1 million to RM600,000 in 2020.
In another development, Dr Mahathir said the government had no plan to give an immediate response to the report claiming that India planned to ban palm oil imports from Malaysia.
The prime minister said, for now, Malaysia just need to wait and see what action would be taken by India.
“We will study the impact of the action taken by India. They are exporting goods to Malaysia too. It’s not just one-way trade, it’s two-way trade,” he said.
Dr Mahatir said Malaysia and India must avoid making the issue a cause for a trade war which would only spell losses to both countries.
He said this when asked to comment on a news report by an international news agency that India was considering restricting imports of some products from Malaysia, including palm oil, in reaction to his criticism of New Delhi for its action in Kashmir.
Dr Mahathir, in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month, had touched on the protracted Rohingya crisis in Rakhine State, Myanmar and the Palestinian crisis in Gaza before saying that Jammu and Kashmir had been “invaded and occupied” and the conflict continued despite the UN resolution for both countries (India and Pakistan) to resolve it by peaceful means.
India is the second-largest buyer of Malaysia’s palm oil, importing approximately 150,000 tonnes monthly.