Zuraida fends off criticism on 2nd HOC campaign

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.

PUTRAJAYA: Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin today defended her announcement of a prospective Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) for buyers in Hong Kong and China following criticism from some who accused her of neglecting the welfare of citizens.

“We are only talking about those houses that cost RM1 million and above,” she said in a press conference after the soft launch of the 7th Asia Pacific Urban Forum here.

“If I ask developers to reduce the price to RM200,000, it would be impossible.”

She added that the proposed HOC would be a long-term plan, saying such units would only be left empty if they are not sold.

“It would be very bad for the country’s image to have empty buildings everywhere,” she said.

“I’m sure you wouldn’t want people to see this country as a dumping place for dilapidated and empty houses.”

Zuraida said yesterday that the government might organise another HOC to cater to foreign buyers. She added however that only high-end homes would be sold.

This sparked criticism by members of the public who accused her of only trying to build relationships with foreign investors.

The minister said today that her announcement had been her early response following her visit to Hong Kong and China.

She added that the prospective campaign would also cater to buyers from other countries who wished to purchase houses in Malaysia.

She said her ministry would come up with an outline and hold discussions with the tourism ministry to make it part of the Malaysia My Second Home programme.