News: Forest City Flats Too Expensive for Malaysians, Says Dr Mahathir

Apr 10, 2018

 
Country Garden’s US$100 billion Forest City project off Johor is unaffordable for most Malaysians, Dr Mahathir Mohamad told Bloomberg on Friday (6 April).

Located on four artificial islands, the mega-development comprises thousands of apartments being sold for RM1 million and above, when the country’s median annual income was only RM62,736 in 2016.

“We don’t have enough people with wealth to buy all those very expensive flats, so you’re bringing in foreigners. No country wants to have an influx of huge numbers of foreign people into their country,” said 92-year-old Mahathir, who was the country’s prime minister from July 1981 to October 2003.

Pakatan Harapan’s candidate for prime minister noted that Chinese investments are welcome if investors established operations in the country, employed locals and brought in money and technology.

But many Malaysians don’t want investments involving lots of unaffordable properties intended for foreigners. Thus, he has promised to thoroughly look into China’s investment in Malaysia if he becomes the country’s new prime minister.

Mahathir doesn’t want Malaysia to end up like Sri Lanka, which owed over $8 billion to state-controlled Chinese firms. The country struggled to pay that huge debt. Hence, it granted a 99-year lease last year to China for operating Hambantota port to reduce Sri Lanka’s outstanding loan.

“Lots of people don’t like Chinese investments. We are for Malaysians. We want to defend the rights of Malaysians. We don’t want to sell chunks of this country to foreign companies who will develop whole towns,” added Mahathir.

Nevertheless, under Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto the party pledged to encourage investments from other Asian nations, including China. But all ongoing foreign mega-projects will be reviewed to prevent corruption.

Meanwhile, Mahathir’s rival Prime Minister Najib Razak dismissed Pakatan Harapan’s concerns on Chinese investment as “irresponsible politicians scare-mongering.”

“Remember that Malaysian investment into China used to be bigger than Chinese investment in Malaysia, and that we have more Malaysian investments overseas than foreign direct investments in this country,” he said in January.

“So this is a two-way street. Foreign direct investment (FDI) levels vary over time, and such connections are part of, and key to, a healthy and diversified economy.”

Notably, China was Malaysia’s top FDI source in 2017, accounting for about seven percent of the overall RM54.7 billion overseas investments.
 
This article was edited by the editorial team of PropertyGuru. To contact them about this or other stories email editorialteam@propertyguru.com.my
 

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