Copy Perak, not Johor, says buyers’ group on Bumi lots

PETALING JAYA: The National House Buyers Association (HBA) has opposed a proposal that other states follow Johor’s policy of charging property developers a conversion levy for the release of Bumiputera lots, saying it will cause prices to rise.

“Developers are not charitable organisations,” HBA secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said. “They will factor in any increase in costs. At the end of the day, prices will increase again.”

He told FMT state governments should instead follow Perak, where developers are allowed to release unsold properties under the Bumiputera quota after six months instead of two years.

He was commenting on a proposal made recently by the Malay Economic Action Council. The NGO’s CEO, Ahmad Yazid Othman, praised the Johor model, saying the state collected about RM600 million in conversion levies in 2017 and used the funds to build more than 6,000 affordable homes.

Under Perak’s policy, developers are allowed to apply for 50% of the Bumiputera quota to be released if the properties have achieved 30% physical construction and if 60% of the non-Bumiputera lots have been sold.

An application to release the remaining 50% can be submitted once physical construction has reached 80% and if 90% of non-Bumiputera lots have been sold.

Chang said state governments using the Perak model must enforce the policy strictly and impose heavy penalties on developers caught selling Bumiputera lots to non-Bumiputera buyers without the state’s approval.

“We believe that following the Perak government’s move will lead to lower house prices for both Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputeras in the long run,” he said.

Melaka-based developer Anthony Adam Cho also voiced support for any move to use the Perak model, telling FMT that longer holding periods would mean higher costs since developers would have to maintain the unsold units.

Cho also said Melaka had already been charging developers a levy although they had not been getting approval for the release of Bumiputera units.

He lamented a lack of transparency in the current release mechanism, saying there was insufficient information on how the funds collected were channelled toward the construction of affordable houses.

“If there is an automatic release mechanism and the time period of release is transparent and shortened, the developers can cost the houses more efficiently, resulting in lowering the cost of houses,” he said.