Largely financed by mainland Chinese investors, Forest City, a multi-billion dollar property development near Singapore is facing uncertainty after Malaysia's prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, publicly condemned sales of its property to foreign investors.
The 93-year-old leader said in a news conference, "One thing is certain, that city that is going to be built cannot be sold to foreigners."
This is in a bid to ward off further inflation of Malaysia's housing market.
Later, however, the leader backtracked and said he meant foreigners will not immediately be granted long-stay visas for purchasing property in Forest City.
First announced under Malaysia's development corridor plan in 2013, the controversial $100 billion Forest City project was developed by Country Garden Pacific View (CGPV), a joint venture between Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd—a real estate giant based in South China—and a firm owned partly by a Malaysian sultan, Forest City boasts thousands of residential suites, parks, hotels, international schools, and a golf course designed by American golf legend Jack Nicklaus.
The ambitious private project has encouraged a large influx of foreign investment, especially from wealthy developers and buyers from China, into the "five-star" properties which are double the price per square meter of homes for Malaysian citizens in the area. The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment is being offered for $170,000, according to reports.