‘I will do an­other project if govt wants to fol­low this con­cept’

New Straits Times - - News - >>

That will sub­sidise the ex­ist­ing houses. But if there are losses, that means I will have to bear the losses.

Q: You are will­ing to give pri­or­ity to the peo­ple and bear the losses your­self ?

A: I do not be­lieve I will in­cur any losses, but if I do, I will bear the losses for the sake of the peo­ple.

Q: What is caus­ing all these hous­ing-re­lated is­sues? Is the cur­rent sys­tem un­suc­cess­ful? A: I feel that houses are over­priced. If you com­pare the price of land with what it was 40 years ago, there will be vast dif­fer­ences.

In the past, the price of land in Ta­man Pe­langi, Jo­hor Baru, for in­stance, was less than 20 sen per sq ft.

Now, land in Ta­man Pe­langi costs RM100 per sq ft.

That is the dif­fer­ence be­tween then and now. So, per­haps this is why many can­not af­ford a house.

That is why the gov­ern­ment is build­ing af­ford­able houses. Even so, I feel the price of the af­ford­able house is still too high for some peo­ple.

They can­not af­ford to buy them, and in­stead can only af­ford to look at them.

Let me complete my project first, and we will see how it goes.

If the gov­ern­ment wants to, say, fol­low the con­cept of the Sul­tan of Jo­hor, I will, with all sin­cer­ity, build an­other project.

But the land pre­mium must not be too high as I will bear all the costs, in­clud­ing the land cost.

Q: You said the dream house you are build­ing is for all races. Is the Bu­mi­put­era quota sys­tem mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for this to hap­pen?

A: Some­times, the Bu­mi­put­era quota can­not be ap­plied.

The Bu­mi­put­era quota is for the Malays and Bu­mi­put­eras. If this quota is im­posed for all af­ford­able hous­ing projects, Jo­hor will not have high-end houses.

For ex­am­ple, in Jo­hor Baru, if there were to be ho­tels and con­do­mini­ums with five-star or seven-star rat­ings, and there is a Bu­mi­put­era quota im­posed on them, de­vel­op­ers will not be able to sell the prop­er­ties.

Be­fore de­vel­op­ers build, they would have thought about who they would be sell­ing to.

For me, I do not care who wants to buy it. I know many do not agree with what I am say­ing, but if you were to build a mixed high­end hous­ing project with an af­ford­able hous­ing project, even the cheaper houses be­come un­af­ford­able.

You need to have bal­anced de­vel­op­ment. For ex­am­ple, if there is an iconic build­ing in Jo­hor Baru, do you think the Bu­mi­put­eras can af­ford it? No. How can they (af­ford it)? They can­not even af­ford to en­ter a seven-star ho­tel.

When Jo­hor made a name for it­self in other coun­tries, many wanted to come here. They wanted to see Jo­hor. They will stay in lux­ury ho­tels and con­do­mini­ums, but there must be some lee­way in the Bu­mi­put­era re­quire­ment.

It is a 40 per cent quota. De­vel­op­ers may be able to sell 60 (per cent) of the project, but the re­main­ing 40 per cent can­not be sold un­til an ap­peal is made to the gov­ern­ment.

It’s bet­ter for the gov­ern­ment to build mixed de­vel­op­ments for the Bu­mi­put­eras and set up a sep­a­rate in­ter­na­tional zone.

Zon­ing is im­por­tant, so the Bu­mi­put­eras can re­side where they can af­ford to re­side. It’s not that we want them to live in one place. No. Some places need zon­ing, while other places are not af­fected.

How­ever, the land we have is free­hold, not lease­hold. In Jo­hor, if the land is not free­hold, we only need to pay a land pre­mium to con­vert it to free­hold.

It can be done as long as the pre­mium is paid. An ex­am­ple is For­est City, where the gov­ern­ment re­ceived about RM200 mil­lion to con­vert its sta­tus.

Now, it is free­hold, but it was not be­fore the devel­oper paid the pre­mium. It is not only for the Chi­nese na­tion­als, but the con­cept is to go global be­cause Jo­hor is well-known in the world now and peo­ple will come here to look at and live in Jo­hor.

Kuala Lumpur holds the top spot for the high­est num­ber of for­eign­ers stay­ing there, while Jo­hor Baru is in the third spot for the most liv­able city in the re­gion.

I want Jo­hor Baru to be No. 1, with even more for­eign­ers than Kuala Lumpur. It can be done, but we must work to­gether to de­velop Jo­hor. How­ever, this can­not be done when there is po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence, when the op­po­si­tion says we can­not do this and that.

We can­not be re­gress­ing, but must in­stead move to­wards pro­gress­ing. We need to come to an agree­ment in or­der for us to achieve our goal.

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