Loans idea: Noh must explain to Cabinet

PETALING JAYA: Housing minister Noh Omar has been asked to brief the Cabinet about his proposal to allow housing developers to make loans to prospective home-buyers using moneylender licences.

Deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today that Noh Omar’s idea had not been brought to the Cabinet. He told reporters: “This was not discussed in the Cabinet and we ask that he gives an explanation to the Cabinet about this.”

Noh Omar, who is minister for urban wellbeing, housing and local government, had made the proposal in a speech at a property conference on Thursday, sparking an outcry and calls for the Moneylenders Act to be abolished.

He later said that his proposal was only a suggestion and that his ministry would be asked to conduct a proper study.

However, earlier today he said the national housing policy might be reviewed to allow price controls on housing. Under the current policy, the government could only control the price of low-cost houses, those costing not more than RM42,000 and 600 sq ft in area.

His earlier moneylending proposal was for property developers to be allowed to give loans, at an interest rate of 12 per cent with collateral and 18 per cent without collateral, to help those who were unable to get a full bank loan from banks or those who might only be entitled to a partial housing loan.

However Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani shot down the proposal as illogical and unsustainable, while CIMB Group boss Nazir Razak said it was a “dangerous idea” with the risk of creating a debt crisis.