JOHOR BARU: The Government should work with developers to find a win-win solution to encourage the building of more affordable houses for all, irrespective of race and religion, said Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.
Sultan Ibrahim said the issue of affordable housing greatly concerned him because as the state continued to prosper, he wanted all Johoreans to enjoy the fruits of development.
“The current house prices are way too high for most people.
“They simply cannot afford to buy them ... they can only afford to look at them,” he said in his speech at the inaugural StarProperty.my Awards 2017: Jewels of Johor at Thistle Hotel here.
His Majesty added that developers could not find buyers, even if certain houses were reserved for bumiputras.
“My vision is for Bangsa Johor to become a home-owning society. I want people of all races to own homes, not just the Malays,” he said.
Sultan Ibrahim added that the bumiputra quota was supposed to help, but it was not working.
“I know of many so-called affordable housing schemes within large mixed developments, but even the cheaper houses are not affordable to the Malays,” he said.
He said the time had come for a revision of this policy.
Instead of a quota system, Sultan Ibrahim said, the Government could consider zoning designated areas for affordable housing, within developments.
His Majesty also advised the Government to be consistent with its housing policy as there should not be a “good times policy and bad times policy”.
He said inconsistent policies would affect long-term investors’ decision to come into the country.
At the same time, Sultan Ibrahim said there must also be some flexibility because a “one size fits all” housing policy would not do, as each state is different.
He added that the Federal Government must give Johor special incentives to stimulate the economy and boost the property sector in order to attract more foreign direct investors.
“Kuala Lumpur now holds the top spot for the highest number of foreigners staying there and I want Johor Baru to be number one,” he added.
Sultan Ibrahim also cited Dubai as an example, saying the city was only a small fishing village 25 years ago and has since been developed greatly.
“Johor’s Mersing, too, is a small fishing village. If Dubai can be what it is today, why can’t I have a second Dubai in Mersing?” he said.