KEPALA BATAS: The government has the responsibility to reduce the glut of high-end property valued at RM100bil before they become abandoned, says Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.
“Imagine if we don’t clear out in the next 10 years, Malaysia will become a landscape of an abandoned city.
“Do we want to see that version of Malaysia in the future?
“We must overcome this as much as we can now, and according to the rules and procedures, ” she told reporters after attending the swearing-in ceremony of the new mayor of Seberang Prai City Council (MBSP) and the proclamation of the municipality as a city here yesterday.
Zuraida hit out at those who claimed she was trying to sell the country’s assets to foreigners.
“It’s not like I want to sell them like pisang goreng (banana fritters). No, we have a system on how to do it, ” she said.
She said it was a good time for the relevant ministries such as the Housing, Tourism, and Home Ministries to work together to come up with an appealing package for potential buyers, said to be likely from China and Hong Kong.
Zuraida had said a home ownership campaign could be launched in China or Hong Kong to overcome the property glut in Malaysia, with her ministry looking to collaborate with the Tourism Ministry to promote the plan under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.
However, she had since come under fire from the public following the proposal.
Zuraida also dismissed the possibility that her proposal would encourage developers to build more expensive houses and commercial units.
“We have not approved any application to build expensive houses. The ones that we have now were built years ago, ” she said.
On a separate matter, Zuraida said the response by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the possibility of deputy PKR president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali joining Bersatu was a spontaneous one.
“Anyone in this country has the right to join any party that he or she wants as this country holds on to democratic principles.
“It was the reporters who asked him about that. How can he say no?” she said.
On Sunday, when asked whether there was any possibility of Azmin joining Bersatu, Dr Mahathir said Azmin had not made an application.
“If he makes an application, then we will consider, ” Dr Mahathir reportedly said.