Speech by YAB Tuan Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang, at the Penang International Property Conference(e/c)

Speech by YAB Tuan Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang, at the Penang International Property Conference
on 5 August 2016.

I wish to thank the organizer of this event, the Penang State Housing Committee and Penevents Sdn Bhd, for organizing this mid-term review of the Penang International Property (PIP) Summit Conference. I am pleased to be here once again to give all of you an over-view of what has happened where the State’s initiative to attract investment which will have an impact on the property sector and what is to be expected in the next few months before we draw a close to 2016.

Malaysia has been buffeted by economic headwinds some due to the global economic slowdown such as the sharp drop in oil prices, others self-inflicted such as the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal that caused the Ringgit to plummet in value and the imposition of GST. GST should only be imposed on high-income countries like Singapore. Middle income countries take at least 2-3 years to recover and the timing is poorly planned and a failure of policy management. Thailand has GST and its economy has performed poorly. Singapore has managed to weather the ill-effects as a high-income economy. Whilst many external factors have impeded Malaysia as a whole, Penang remains resilient, helped by the manufacturing and services sector as well as increase in tourism.

Pursuant to the RM500 million affordable Home initiative by the State in 2014, since the start of 2016, the state government via PDC, is in the process of delivering 22,512 affordable housing units at Batu Kawan, SP Chelliah, Teluk Kumbar and Jelutong, priced at under RM400,000 on the island and under RM250,000 on the mainland.

Also, the newly announced Seri Tanjung Pinang Phase 2 has been well received as it promises large expansion of new public spaces along the coast line of Gurney Drive and perhaps new townships at Tanjong Tokong for all walks of life. On the mainland, Batu Kawan remains robust with new promised development with catalysts such as IKEA, Columbia Hospital and Universities over the next 10-14 years.

2016 is indeed Penang’s ‘Transformational year” as the state has indeed focused its efforts in the transformation of the housing and property sector with people-centric policies. The recently announced RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan will certainly impact the housing and property market and I am very confident that this infrastructure building will help spur economic growth with its multiplier effects.

The Penang State Government will continue its effort to transform Penang into an international and intelligent city that is a location of choice for investors, a destination of choice for tourists and a habitat of choice for residents who desire sustainable living. Penang recorded RM 8.2 billion in investments in 2014, a 110% increase compared to RM 3.9 billion in 2013. For the 8 years period between 2008-2015, Penang recorded an investment of RM 55 billion, a 90% increase compared to the previous 8 years period 2000 to 2007 of RM 29 billion.

We are now 120 days away from the new 2017 but the first half of 2016, has indeed left the state government with more opportunities to review as well as improve its housing and infrastructure policies. By this continuous review, Penangites will continue to benefit from the people friendly policies in Malaysia.

The more pertinent developments in relation to affordable housing policy by the Penang State Government is the recent introduction of a more affordable housing product, namely the RM150,000.00 controlled price unit at 750 square feet controlled size. This will make access to affordable housing easier and clearly reflects the priority given by the Penang State Government to the provision of affordable housing to Penangites. We have also recently agreed to reduce the maximum ceiling price of affordable housing on the island from RM400,000.00 to RM300,000.00, and to date, the Penang State Government has some 12 projects in the pipeline which will see 22,710 units made available to Penangites beginning this year.

The reintroduction of the rent to buy scheme has also seen a keen interest as can be seen in the launch of units at Taman Seruling Emas and Taman Sungai Duri Permai, whereby the response is overwhelmed, and the Penang State Government will be looking into widening this category of housing. We hope that the Federal Government would expand on its poor housing programme with Penang being allocated only 70 units out of 20,454 units planned nationally – the lowest in the country at only 0.3%!

My recent announcement on the State considering the possibility of reintroducing rent control for pre-war buildings in the George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site, was a result of concerns that rental in such properties in the said area were increasing in an alarming manner. We see rent restriction as necessary to cap rental increase at a maximum of 20% over 4-5 years over the current market value. This will serve to protect our intangible and living heritage to give locals the opportunity to stay in the heritage enclave without being driven off by high rentals. Both YB Chow and YB Jagdeep had been tasked to study the matter and gather all relevant information from all stakeholders before a definitive decision is taken. YB Chow will focus on public feedback and YB Jagdeep on the legal implications and framework.

The Pakatan Harapan coalition urges Penangites to continue its support for the state government so that Penang continues to be an attractive place to invest in and to live in. I am confident that Penang will continue to forge forward with its continued vision of transforming Penang into an international and intelligent city, where the axis of the the state administration is deeply rooted on the principles of CAT governance.

(槟城)槟州首席部长林冠英说,尽管大马经济现在面对内忧外患的夹攻,但是,槟州经济仍保有活力与弹性,主要是因为制造业及服务业(包括日渐增加的旅游业)两大支柱所支撑,始能屹立不倒。

“随着全球经济放软、油价下降,马来西亚的经济已经无可避免的受到打击,再加上爆出500亿令吉的1MDB丑闻,导致令吉节节败退。雪山加霜的是,我国在不对的时机实施消费税,又
配上失败的政策与管理,更是让人民苦不堪言。消费税适合在高收入国家如新加坡实行,但对于中等收入的国家而言,它并不是良药,泰国就是很好的例子,因为实施了消费税以后,经济表现差强人意。”

他也说,槟州政府体恤人民,推出许多利民政策,包括广建可负担房屋。州政府透过槟州发展机构,在峇都加湾、SP齐来耶、公巴、日落洞打造了2万2512单位的可负担房屋,槟岛的最高价为40万令吉,威省方面则是在25万令吉。

“我们要吁请联邦政府也在槟城推行利民的房屋计划,因为截止目前为止,联邦政府似乎忽略了槟城,他们在全国各地预计建设2万454单位的可负担房屋,但槟城只有70单位,仅占全国的0.3%,成为最低的州属。”

林冠英亦提及,2016年是槟城的“转型年”,政府除了大量推广以民为本的房屋政策外,也准备推行价值270亿令吉的交通大蓝图。他相信,这个大型计划将有效刺激槟州的经济,带来好的效益。

“我们要让槟城成为投资者与游客的首选,让这个宜居的城市成为外人想要定居,长住久安的好地方。槟州在2013年取得39亿令吉的投资额,2014年则取得110%的成长至82亿令吉。从2008年到2015年期间,槟州共获得了550亿令吉的投资额,比起2000年到2007年期间290亿令吉,足足增长90%。”

林首长是在今日出席槟州国际房地产论坛时,这么说。有关论坛由槟州房屋委员会及Penevents私人有限公司所主办。出席者也包括了槟州地方政府事务委员会主席曹观友及槟州房屋委员会主席佳日星。

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