LANGKAWI — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said the decision to lower the threshold on high-rise property prices in urban areas for foreign ownership from RM1 million to RM600,000 was meant to reduce the supply overhang of condominiums and apartments.

He stressed that the decision does not mean that foreigners who buy the property would be given Malaysian citizenship.

“We want to get rid of this property overhang… so that we can raise the price back to RM800,000, RM1 million or RM2 million. This is a way to encourage the sale.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng when tabling Budget 2020 last Friday announced that in a bid to reduce supply overhang of condominiums and apartments amounting to RM8.3 billion in the second quarter of 2019, the government will lower the threshold on high-rise property prices in urban areas for foreign ownership from RM1 million to RM600,000 in 2020.

In another development, Dr Mahathir said the government had no plans to give an immediate response to the report claiming that India planned to ban palm oil imports from Malaysia.

The prime minister said, for now, Malaysia just needs to wait and see what action would be taken by India.

“We will study the impact of the action taken by India. They are exporting goods to Malaysia too. It’s not just one-way trade, it’s two-way trade,” he said.

Dr Mahatir said Malaysia and India must avoid making the issue a cause for a trade war which would only spell losses to both countries.

He said this when asked to comment on a news report by an international news agency that India was considering restricting imports of some products from Malaysia, including palm oil, in reaction to his criticism of New Delhi for its action in Kashmir.

Dr Mahathir, in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month, had touched on the protracted Rohingya crisis in Rakhine State, Myanmar and the Palestinian crisis in Gaza before saying that Jammu and Kashmir had been “invaded and occupied” and the conflict continued despite the UN resolution for both countries (India and Pakistan) to resolve it by peaceful means.

India is the second-largest buyer of Malaysia’s palm oil, importing approximately 150,000 tonnes monthly. — Bernama

Guan Eng: Lower condo purchase threshold for foreigners only applicable to existing, unsold units

KUALA LUMPUR — The move to lower the threshold for foreigners to buy condominiums and apartments in urban areas from RM1 million to RM600,000 is only applicable to existing unsold units, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said the measure announced in the 2020 Budget, effective from Jan 1 to Dec 31 next year, does not cover new projects that are yet to be launched.

Existing units that have not been sold are the residential units that do not interest local buyers. Hence the relaxation in the form of lower foreign buying threshold for condominiums and apartments will not deny the rights of local buyers,” he said in a statement today.

Lim said the move is expected to benefit the property sector without being detrimental to Malaysians’ interest.

“Local buyers who wish to buy, are not being denied their rights; they can buy now and the units will not remain as unsold properties,” he added.

Lim explained that the proposal was made to reduce the supply overhang in condominiums and apartments amounting to RM8.3 billion as at the second quarter of 2019.

“If the units are able to be sold, it will produce a direct spillover effect on the country’s economy,” he said.

Lim added that the Finance Ministry will monitor continuously the implementation of the measure to ensure that it achieves its objective. — Bernama