Property sector still a draw

By THE STAR

KUALA LUMPUR : The Malaysian real estate still offers an attractive investment opportunity for foreign players despite uncertainties in the global financial markets.

According to Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, apart from the Middle East, the property sector was also attracting foreign investors from the Indian subcontinent and Asian countries such as South Korea, China and Japan.

“Malaysia is becoming more attractive to foreign investors,” he told reporters after officiating the 19th National Real Estate Convention (NREC) yesterday.

However, he did not discount the fact that the global rise in fuel prices had a domino effect on the local real estate industry, which could trigger a slowdown in the overall economy.

Existing projects should go on and new projects initiated to counter the rippling effect on the economy, he said.

While the rising construction and fluctuating fuel costs were an immediate challenge for the industry, Ong was optimistic that the budget would be “people-centric,” with more goodies to help alleviate the burden of these spiralling costs.

“We hope that the Government will give some incentives to the housing and building materials industry,” he said.

Ong also called for a review of the diesel prices

“An area that has been overlooked is the diesel-powered machinery being used in building sites,” he said, suggesting the Government review the road tax of diesel vehicles to be at par with petrol vehicles.

On the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association’s proposed change in housing policies with regard to the 30% bumiputra quota, Ong said there should be some flexibility. “Maybe in areas with not so many bumiputras residing, the quota could be adjusted.”

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