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CM Thanked for Addressing Property, Development Issues

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The Sabah Housing and Real Estate Development Association (Shareda) has expressed its deepest gratitude to the Chief Minister and his Cabinet for addressing some important issues related to the property and development industry through the transformative and improving 2020 State Budget.

“On behalf of Sabah Housing and Real Estate Development Association, I would like address and acknowledge the recent announcement by our Sabah Chief Minister cum Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie Bin Haji Apdal, on the Sabah State Budget 2020. Also, I would like to congratulate our Chief Minister and his esteemed Cabinet for having successfully introduced and implemented transformative and improvement initiatives in the State administrative and financial management,” said Shareda president Datuk Chew Sang Hai (pic) in a statement here yesterday.

On the replacement of the Central Board, Chew said among the many initiatives, Shareda welcomes the establishment of the State Planning Council (SPC), which is to replace the current Central Board, and the delegation of power which will be transferred to the Local Authority (PBT) to consider and approve Development Plan (DP) via six zones of One Stop Centre (OSC).

This initiative is definitely congruent with Shareda’s aspiration to heighten transparency, to reduce excessive bureaucracy/red-tape, delays and bottleneck, and shorten the duration of Development Plan approval process.

Furthermore, he said Shareda welcomes the government’s new and streamlined approach of ‘Self Compliance’ by developers and consultants. The budget has also spelled out the specified duration and time lapse for different stages of the approval process, such as issuance of Conditional Approval Letter within 24 hours, and further correspondences with State and Federal technical Departments within 3-6 months on matters related to technical compliances and requirements. This allows the developers to plan and manage its cash flow and resource/materials allocation more effectively and efficiently.

“The replacement of the Central Board with SPC and hence, the power of DP process and approval being delegated back to the Local Authority, is consistent with Shareda’s vision. Shareda is of the view that the role of the Central Board or SPC should be solely on matters related to rezoning and to formulate high-level State physical development planning policy. Thus, Shareda is eager to be one of the stakeholders in thrashing out or refining the details of the establishment of OSC. We laud the government’s proactive effort to introduce transformative and improved initiatives in this State Budget 2020,” Chew said.

On the Reduced Foreign Purchaser Threshold, Chew welcomed the second initiative introduced by the government in lowering the threshold level of residential home ownership by foreigner from RM1 million to RM750,000 only on residential properties with Certificate of Occupancy (OC) and had remained unsold for more than nine months.

“Shareda welcomes and acknowledges this policy by the government to address issues on ‘over-hang’ properties and over-supply of unsold high-valued properties in the State.”

However, he added Shareda would also like to highlight the challenges and obstacles in the international market faced by Sabah developers.

“It is definitely not a walk in the park. As we are well aware, Sabah or Kota Kinabalu per se is considered as a tier-two city. With a lower ranked city as compared to our counterparts such Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru, it would be very challenging to gain confidence and assurance of foreign purchasers to buy residential properties in Kota Kinabalu. This is because more affluent foreign buyers would invest on properties in cities that of tier-one status.

“Therefore, an additional and alternative solution to the apparent challenge is the Sabah My Second Home programme. Sabah My Second Home programme incorporates friendlier immigration policies and investment criteria, enticing health and education services, friendlier state financing policies, which would be more attractive and effective to attract foreign buyers to Sabah and subsequently address issues such as the ‘over-hang’ and ‘over-supply’ of high-valued residential properties in the State,” Chew said.

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