Johor govt denies statements on Forest City

JUNITA MAT RASID and RIZALMAN HAMMIM

ISKANDAR PUTERI: The state government today denied the various inaccurate statements and allegations made about the Forest City project.

Menteri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian said the state government has received a complete explanation from the project developer, Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGPV).

“We need to clarify on these statements so that there’s no confusion among the public. We are not siding with any parties but we need to clarify so that investors would not be worried to invest in Johor. We always welcome foreign investors to the state,” said Osman.

He said one of the statements claims that the project does not contribute to the state and Malaysia.

“The state government have received a total income of RM630 million from the Forest City project consisting of dividends and other payments such as land premium and taxes.

“The Federal government have received a total of RM83 million, including RM13 in corporate taxes, from the project,” said Osman.

He said CGPV’s parent company Country Garden Holdings has also contributed RM309 million to the Federal government in term of various taxes, including RM250 million in corporate tax.

“CGPV have invested a total of RM11.5 billion in the project as of July 2018. They have also awarded contracts worth RM1.4 billion to 150 local companies while workers at the project contributed RM51 million in personal income taxes,” said Osman.

On the statement that 700,000 foreigners, mostly from China, would be living in Forest City once it is completed, Osman said it is not accurate.

“The figure is actually the total population in Forest City, including locals, tourists, students and professionals.”

He said the allegation that all the transactions involving Forest City are conducted overseas and no money has flowed into Malaysia is also inaccurate.

“All transactions involving the project, including the sales and purchase agreement, have to be done in Malaysia and are governed by local laws, including the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act. “CGPV have also contributed RM2 billion to the Housing Development Authority fund which is under the purview of the Housing and Local Government Ministry.

“This fund can’t be withdrawn until the project is completed and has been checked and audited,” said Osman, adding that the state government believes that Malaysia have a comprehensive legal system to protect the rights of investors, including property buyers.

“We will continue to cooperate with the Federal government and the relevant authorities. We will also ensure CGPV will continue to clarify any confusion through discussions and meetings.

“We are also confident in the Federal government’s ability to be fair in protecting foreign companies which are doing business in Malaysia,” said Osman. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd