Gov't mulling policy review of property purchases by foreigners

Mohd Ikhwan Jamaludin

SIMPANG PERTANG: The government plans to review and possibly revise its housing policy on foreigners purchasing local properties.

The move is meant to safeguard Malaysia's interests and curb abuse, especially in view of the prevailing poor currency exchange rate.

Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar today said a study has been conducted on the matter, and the federal government could consider two options – either to raise the floor price of RM1 million per property, or switch the currency for the floor price from ringgit to US dollar, for all foreign property buyers.

Noh was commenting on a report that the Penang state government plans to allow foreigners to purchase property on the island priced at RM800,000 and above, which it claims are not within the means of locals due to difficulties in securing financing from banks.

"If the state government pursues its intent to lower the mandated floor price (for foreign purchases), then it would have breached the housing policy set by the federal government.

"At the present foreign exchange rate (of RM4.45 to US$1), there shouldn't be any problem maintaining the RM1 million floor price for foreigners," he said, adding that priority should be given to local residents on the island.