HOUSING and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin today defended her proposal to sell unsold luxury properties to foreigners under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.
Facing criticism, she said the move is necessary to enable the government to focus on affordable housing, and to address glut in the high-end property segment.
“We are trying to resolve the current situation (glut) to spur the economy.
“It will help in terms of economic prospects, job market, and to invigorate affordable housing projects that the government intends to do,” she said after a ceremony in Penang to confer Seberang Perai city status and mayor appointment.
“The ministry is taking stock of unsold luxury properties, including commercial properties, valued at some RM100 billion.
“If we don’t unfreeze the ban on luxury properties, there will be abandoned, dirty and old buildings around. Do we want that in Malaysia? We will regret it later.
“We will curb this issue according to procedure, not auction it off like pisang goreng (banana fritters).”
Zuraida said her ministry will work closely with the Home Ministry, and the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry to review and improve the packages available under the MM2H programme.
Three days ago, she proposed that the stock of unsold high-end properties be sold to China and Hong Kong nationals.
She clarified the proposal was not limited to Chinese and Hong Kong nationals, but open to others.
She had said the proposal was still at an early stage of discussion and yet to be brought to the cabinet.
The proposal drew flak from several parties, including PKR women’s wing vice-chief Faizah Ariffin, who called for Zuraida to resign.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT