REHDA Sends SOS to the State Government

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Johor Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (REHDA) committee members unanimously call for an urgent review in policy pertaining to the property sector in Johor

Johor Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (REHDA) called for an emergency press conference to share urgent matters and raising concerns

The Johor chapter of the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (REHDA) has put out a distress call to the state government to urgently address outdated housing policies in Johor.

The immediate call for action was mooted by REHDA Johor Branch Chairman Datuk Ir. Steve Chong Yoon On and was echoed by the committee members.

“We are not pointing fingers at any party, but current market conditions have changed and we need more flexible housing policies and all stakeholders must work together to find an amicable solution,” stressed Chong.

The committee called upon the open minds of the state housing department to review and revisit certain regulations deemed unfairly disadvantageous to the development of the industry.

“This is an SOS distress call as we are talking about the survival and sustainability of the fourth largest economic contributor of the country,” added Chong.

The pressing issues concerning developers in the state include unsold Bumiputra property units, escalating compliance costs and buyers having difficulties securing bank loans.

To date, Johor has accumulated 51,000 unsold properties worth around RM36billion, with an estimated 16,000 units being Bumiputra lots valued approximately at RM8billion.

The state’s requirement currently stipulates that 40% of all property units must be set aside for Bumiputra. These requirements apply to residential, commercial and industrial properties as well.

REHDA Johor Branch Chairman & Managing Director of Austin Heights Sdn Bhd Datuk Ir. Steve Chong Yoon On (3rd from left) is seen sharing data with members of the press

For any unsold Bumiputra units, developers can appeal to the state government for a release consent that will convert a property to allow sale to a non-Bumiputra, however, 7.5% of the sale price needs to be paid to the state government as a fee to the state government for each released unit.

“The state government needs to come out with a floating system to sell the Bumiputra units instead of marking the titles,” said Chong.

Datuk Steve Chong also called on the government to review the RM1 million threshold for foreigners buying properties in Malaysia as well as to review outdated advertising policies which go as far as to stipulate interval timing between advertisements which can be done away with.

Singaporean and other foreign buyers are interested in investing in new properties in Johor Bahru but the price threshold as well as the current slow demand condition has prompted them to take a wait-and-see approach.

“If the policies are not reviewed immediately, the market will continue to suffer and developers will be forced to retrench manpower and shelve projects. This is not an option that we are keen off but if market conditions worsen, we will have no choice,” he added.

Based on the Department of Statistics’ principal statistics of construction sector 2017, the Johor construction sector employed 251038 people with a total of RM6,975,278 paid in wages which is the third highest in the country after Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

It was reported that Johor has the highest unsold properties in the country for consecutive years now.