PETALING JAYA: The Johor state government is seeking a relaxation of rules for foreign residents in Malaysia as a way for developers to sell off a large stock of unsold luxury condominium units and serviced apartments in the state.
Jafni Md Shukor, the executive councillor for housing and local government, said he would discuss the matter with home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail when he visits the state next month.
The home ministry is responsible for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme under which well-off foreigners can hold long-term residence in Malaysia.
MM2H residents are entitled to buy property in Malaysia at prices over a minimum threshold. The federal recommendation is RM1 million and above, but the level varies from state to state, ranging from RM350,000 in Sarawak to RM500,000 in Penang and RM1 million in Johor.
“I hope the requirement can be relaxed a little so that genuine buyers and investors can take up these expensive serviced apartment and condominium units that are RM500,000 and above,” he told reporters in Kulai.
He said that Johoreans are fond of purchasing landed property rather than serviced apartments and that a lot of serviced apartments in the state have been classified as “overhang properties”.
“A review by the minister on the MM2H (rules and conditions), would open up the space not only to overseas buyers but also to investors to buy serviced apartments here. The developers would get the cash flow, and they can work on their next development projects,” he added.
Last September, former deputy finance minister Shahar Abdullah said Johor had the highest level of unsold homes amounting to 6,000 units valued at RM4.7 billion, or 17% of the national property overhang and 21% of the national value.
He said almost 60% of the unsold homes were apartments, with almost 43% costing more than RM500,000 each.
The Johor state government had previously proposed that Putrajaya revive the MM2H programme as part of efforts to overcome the property glut in the state.