Khaled: Low-cost homes in Johor not embroiled in real estate scandal

Ahmad Fairuz Othman

JOHOR BARU: The Johor government today denied any possibility that the supply of affordable and low-cost housing in the state was affected following the exposé on the state’s real estate property corruption, which is currently being investigated by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said even though there was a policy to allow developers to release unsold Bumiputera housing units based on certain conditions, the policy was not applicable to the Rumah Mampu Milik Johor (RMMJ) scheme or affordable housing scheme.

“Basically, the changing of statuses and the release of Bumiputera quota units is allowed for luxury houses and not houses in the Rumah Mampu Milik Johor category of houses or low-cost houses.

“This is the practice of the state government for a long time,” said Khaled in statement.

Since Feb 24, seven suspects, including the son and special officer to a state executive councillor were arrested for alleged involvement in the real estate corruption scandal that is believed to have caused the state government to lose out tens of thousands of ringgit in potential housing revenue.

MACC froze RM15.5 million in 45 bank accounts and seized 21 luxury cars, five high-powered motorcycles and RM500,000 in local and foreign currencies.

According to MACC, the suspects may have converted the statuses of Bumiputera quota units into non-Bumiputera quota units in order to sell them at higher prices.

Khaled said since 2013, developers were required to pay the state government half of the Bumiputera discount when they whenever they applied to release Bumiputera quota houses within their development projects.

He said premiums paid to release these Bumiputera units are channelled to a rotating fund, which has amassed RM600 million since 2013.

Khaled said these funds are used by the state’s government-linked companies such as PIJ Holdings and Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ) to acquire land and build affordable and low-cost homes, as well as affordable commercial lots for Bumiputera traders.