clock 19-10-2023
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A Consumer Friendly Budget 2024

First of all, the Malaysia Association of Property Consumers (MAPC) would like to congratulate the Government on coming out with a consumer-friendly budget which is in tune with the current needs of Malaysians. This is possible due to a well-managed economy despite the tough challenges faced domestically as well as globally. In particular, the reduction in unemployment rate and inflation rate as well as the increase in foreign tourists’ arrival prove that not just the Government has kept our economy to stay resilient but also how well we are bouncing back from the lows of the Covid-19 pandemic impact on our economy.


As a body that has just recently been established to champion the interests of property consumers in general, MAPC is of the view that this biggest-ever budget announcement should be properly rolled out so that property consumers all over Malaysia will be able to fully benefit from the same.



Overall, the budget is beneficial to consumers as it caters to almost every facet of society and economic sectors. However, MAPC feels that more allocations could have been provided in incentivising the property sector and introducing measures to prop up the property market in the short as well as the long term, for the betterment of the economy.



MAPC sees the move to relax the requirements under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program will not only boost the property market but also attract and retain quality foreign talents to and in Malaysia in the face of our neighbouring countries now aggressively introducing their own version of MM2H which has seen Malaysia losing out to them after being the preferred destination in the recent past. However, MAPC feels that the MM2H program should be overseen by a special unit comprised of officers from relevant Ministries instead of under a single Ministry, as it has impact on various different sectors of the economy.



MAPC believes that Malaysia is moving towards being future-ready in promoting the electric vehicles (EV) industry and usage as the phasing out of ICE-type vehicles is inevitable. However, holistic and comprehensive policy and masterplan on this should be formulated to ensure that the entire value chain and eco system are properly integrated rather than on piecemeal basis, to avoid roadblocks and obstacles later down the road that have often been the pitfall with new technology.



Similarly, MAPC sees renewable energy and energy efficiency as the way forward. By extending this to individual households, the whole nation will not just be able to benefit but also move in tandem with the government and corporations towards a sustainable future. The government needs to come up with the right mechanisms to enable the public to have better access into this initiative.



On the initiative to strengthen PNB with a corporate restructuring and injection of strategic government-owned land in Kuala Lumpur especially, MAPC welcomes this initiative but is of the opinion that the development of these strategic land should be based on ‘highest and best use’ approach rather than just wholesale for housing projects. This is to ensure that maximum returns can be achieved for these institutions to then distribute back the benefits to retail bumiputera investors. Proper market study should be carried out first by independent professional property consultants.



The initiative to promote Malaysia as a hub for e-sports industry is a forward-looking and refreshing initiative that MAPC sees as a new catalyst for the commercial property sector. However, instead of building new hubs under this initiative, repurposing of existing underutilised commercial properties such as shopping malls will help to revive these underperforming properties which have been on the rise due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some of which have even been vacated and abandoned by tenants.



MAPC lauds the RM1 billion allocation for the wellbeing of senior citizens as Malaysia is now fast becoming an aging nation. Part of this allocation should be directed towards private retirement village developments to make them more viable and give variety to the senior living landscape to cater to every strata of the society.



In the view of MAPC, the formation of a special taskforce under Kementerian Pembangunan Kerajaan Tempatan (KPKT) to resolve the issue of abandoned projects is a very important initiative as it can revive the property market in terms of better supply. However, there is another side of the equation which is demand. These projects were abandoned in the first place due to financial problems including lack of demand from purchasers for a variety of reasons. As such, the Government should also spur demand from potential purchasers through incentives that have been given before under the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) as well as others. Proper market study and marketing strategies should also be undertaken by independent property consultants in reviving these projects. Otherwise, even if they are revived, there will still be lack of buyers and the projects will go back into financial problems.



Eligibility to obtain end-financing from the banks is one of the reasons that can affect demand from potential purchasers. MAPC proposes the Government, via Bank Negara Malaysia, to come up with solutions on this issue which is hindering the ability of the public to own houses. The housing credit guarantee scheme is just a start but requires more wide-reaching improvements.



MAPC welcomes the initiative to lower the consent threshold for en-bloc sale of stratified properties that will help spur the redevelopment and regeneration of urban areas. However, MAPC urges the Government not to neglect the interests of minority property owners and occupiers and to protect their rights under this initiative.



Due to its location and size, MAPC sees Bandar Malaysia as a very strategic and one-of-a-kind development in Kuala Lumpur that can be transformed into an iconic and innovative integrated smart city that is capable of putting Kuala Lumpur on the global scene, with the right positioning and branding. As such, it is proposed that a high-level committee from the public and private sectors be formed together with a panel of professional experts in property and construction to spearhead the study, planning and implementation of Bandar Malaysia.



While the move to charge a flat rate stamp duty of 4% on property transaction by foreigners is seen as a control measure on house prices, MAPC is of the opinion that this issue is one of a complex combination of several factors. It is definitely not due to the alleged over-valuation by professional valuers. In fact, the valuation profession has the right expertise and knowledge to offer some viable solutions and MAPC urges the Government to consider professional valuers as a key participant in its consultative sessions with stakeholders and industry players.



 



Dato’ Sr Rosli Atan



President, Malaysia Association of Property Consumers






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