Invest in China, get free Forest City unit, Azmin reveals

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Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said Putrajaya is reviewing the multi-billion dollar Forest City project in southern Johor because Malaysia does not stand to benefit from it. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — Putrajaya is reviewing the multi-billion dollar Forest City project in southern Johor because Malaysia does not stand to benefit from it, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali disclosed today.

Azmin said there was a deal that would see all financial transactions over the sale of properties from the project going to the Chinese government and not to the Treasury here.

“What happened was the transaction was not done in Johor or Malaysia.

“There is a special programme where if you invest a certain amount of money in China, you get a free unit in Forest City.

“So, certainly, we cannot allow that as they pay taxes in China and the transactions were done in China. It does not benefit us,’’ he told a news conference after attending the Congress on the Future of Bumiputera and the Nation 2018 held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here.

Forest City, by developer Country Garden Holdings Co, comprises apartment blocks, landed houses, office towers, hotels and shopping centres and is reported to cost some US$100 billion (RM410 billion) to build.

It was expected to have 700,000 residents.

Last Monday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said his Pakatan Harapan government will not allow foreigners to buy residential units built at the Forest City project.

However, the Prime Minister’s Office clarified in a statement the next day that the purchase of properties did not guarantee automatic residency in Malaysia, which was echoed by the Johor government a few days later.

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