KUALA LUMPUR: Bumiputras are encouraged to invest in and own properties in prime and central areas nationwide to enjoy higher returns, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“The community should not merely own properties in rural or semi-urban areas, or in small towns,” he said.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said the economic empowerment of bumiputras must be more holistic and comprehensive.
This was more realistic, he said, adding that the entire ecosystem, including the social mobility of the community, must be looked at in order for the initiatives to be successful.
“That is why wealth cannot be measured just in terms of ownership, but must also be looked at in terms of (the type of) properties,” he said at the launch of Pelaburan Hartanah Bhd (PHB), which increased the fund size of Amanah Hartanah Bumiputra (AHB) by 500 million units, bringing it to four billion units.
The fund is aimed at increasing bumiputra ownership of commercial properties.
Also present were Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani, PHB chairman Tan Sri Md Nor Md Yusof and PHB group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Kamalul Arifin Othman.
Najib, who is also chairman of Yayasan Amanah Hartanah Bumiputra, the parent company of PHB, said the prime commercial properties should be those strategically located in cities nationwide.
He said the AHB scheme was a good mechanism for bumiputras to widen their participation in the property sector and that the fund also provided good returns.
The Prime Minister also launched the Akaun Remaja scheme, targeted at those aged between three months and 18 years.
The scheme, which begins on Monday, is aimed at to encouraging people to practise the habit of saving money.
“This is a long-term goal. We should not seek instant gratification.
“There must be awareness among the people that they should save some of their income for the future, especially for their children’s education,” said Najib.
“Looks like even (the latest addition to my family) my grandson can start saving now,” he quipped.
Najib’s daughter Nooryana Najwa, who married Kazakh national Daniyar Nazarbayev in 2015, gave birth to a boy on Aug 26.
During the press conference, Kamalul said AHB’s theme this year was “Simpan lah” (Save) instead of “Labur lah” (Invest).
He said the youth, in particular, should be encouraged to save money.
“Yayasan AHB will contribute 50 free units for the first 200,000 newly opened accounts,” he added.