With restrictions on the outflow of funds from China, what kind of impact will this have on the sales of property especially those on waterfront or reclaimed land in Malaysia? Are we in danger of creating ghost cities, where people buy property just for “investment”?

During two meetings – one at a Penang Transport Council workshop and the second at a public feedback session for the Penang Structure Plan – I asked a simple question:

The Penang state government is backing a plan to create three artificial islands in the south, and it is anticipated that some 300,000 people will live on these new islands. Where are these 300,000 people coming from, given that:

a) the Penang population is only inching upwards slightly, due to a sharp fall in fertility rates below the population replacement level, compensated only by small net inward migration.
b) only about 20 per cent of the housing on these three islands will be “affordable” (which again may not be so affordable to most people)?

I didn’t get any clear answers except that they are planning for the long term or something to that effect. 

And believe it or not, the total fertility rate for the whole of Malaysia is also below the population replacement rate of 2.1.

Why do we want to build so many more homes and create so much overdevelopment, even a glut?

Let me quote Citizen Nades (emphasis mine) who cites Bank Negara’s annual report:

But didn’t someone read Bank Negara’s annual report before coming up with this magical figure?

Among others, it said: “The shortage in housing supply has been particularly acute in the affordable housing category.

In 2014, half of Malaysian households earned a monthly income of RM4,585 and below.

“According to the ‘Median Multiple’ methodology developed by Demographia International and recommended by the World Bank and the United Nations to evaluate urban housing markets, a house is considered affordable if a household can finance it with less than three times its annual household income (house price-to-income ratio of 3.0 and below).

“This suggests that houses priced up to RM165,060 are considered affordable to a median Malaysian household. However, only 21% of new housing launches in Malaysia were priced below RM250,000 in 2014.

“In contrast, the data points to an oversupply of higher-end properties priced above RM500,000. Although property launches in this price category account for 36% of total new launches in Malaysia, these houses are only within the reach of 5.4% of the population.”

In short, half of Malaysians can only afford a house sold at RM165,000 and 79% of all houses built in the country cost more than RM250,000 which makes them unaffordable.

So, are we deceiving ourselves by talking about affordable houses in the RM400,000 to RM500,000 range?

So, why do we continue trumpeting affordable homes which at current prices, becomes unaffordable to more than half the citizenry?

What is going to happen now with China restricting the outflow of funds?

A China national with business interests in both Malaysia and China told me many Chinese buyers are attracted to Forest City in Johor because they are told that it is just next door to Singapore.

But the South China Morning Post reported that Chinese developer Country Garden Holdings has closed all sales centres in mainland China for the project amid Beijing’s tighter curbs on capital outflow.

To further curb capital outflows, the Chinese government in January banned its citizens from converting yuan into other currencies for overseas property purchases.

In the same month, Wu Bijun, general manager of Country Garden’s finance centre, who will become the company’s chief financial officer in April, told the Post that its projects in Malaysia had been affected by the government’s crackdown on capital outflows.

Alan Ho, a former sales agent at Country Garden’s Malaysia company, said about 90 per cent of Forest City buyers were from China.

The China national mentioned earlier, however, told me many potential China buyers know how to circumvent the rules that allow them to convert only US$50,000 per person a year for capital outflow. This ties in with a Bloomberg report which described such techniques. Will these loopholes then be plugged?

The China national said many in China want to take their savings out of China and invest it elsewhere before the government takes the money away from them in one way or another – or perhaps before their currency weakens.

But buyers from China wouldn’t hesitate to have their downpayments or booking deposits for homes in Malaysia forfeited if they feel the project could end up a ghost city or if home prices were likely to fall.

Back to the the key question for us here: who are the developers in Malaysia building for, when half the people in Malaysia can only afford homes up to RM165,000?

Apart from the artificial islands planned for Penang and Johor, we have the Melaka Gateway and the Kuantan Waterfront projects in the pipeline.

Amid concerns of a glut in high-end condos in Penang, some worried developers are reportedly already lobbying for condo and apartment price limits for foreigners to be reduced, presumably to take up the slack.

Perhaps it is time we look seriously at housing affordability for local residents and tighten the rules on foreign buying of local property instead of being so beholden to high-end developers. After all, if we allow higher-priced homes, with higher profit margins, to be sold to foreigners, no prizes for guessing whom most developers would prefer to build for.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

80 COMMENTS

  1. Keep developing like this , which is not really for normal average local people on normal average wages and in the next ten years you will all be living on the mainland , unable to afford to live in the place you were born. i live in the UK and looking back on the last twenty years its is obvious that the social dimension is little understood . Thousands of small communities have been uprooted and dislocated by speculative property developments . they make cash but they also DESTROY the local cultural and social heritage………..
    Then theres the problem of sewage disposal . i would nt want to swim nearby . have the developers considered a sewage treatment plan in their proposal , or do they intend to dump it in the sea?
    the effects on jobs and the local seafood industry will only become apparent once the development is built , which by then may be too late.

  2. Rental housing is the way to go
    http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/376735

    Feeling the pinch because of the rising cost of living? Let’s not forget about housing woes. Currently, the so-called ‘affordable housing’ is priced from RM100,000 to RM400,000; certainly beyond the reach of the working class particularly for the younger generation. On top of that, most of the available housing are of the higher price range, leaving a limited number of lower-priced ones up for grabs by the greater majority.

    The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) believes that there are various successful public housing schemes that Malaysia can either adopt or adapt to suit local requirements. While CAP understands that Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is contemplating to adopt the idea of rental housing in Germany, there are several issues that need to be considered.

    In 1949, the West German government took proactive steps to provide affordable housing to its population who lost their homes during World War II. There was a need for 5.5 million housing units in 1946 and within 16 years, they managed to lower the shortage by about 88 percent.

    However, one must not forget that Germany made regulations that are favourable towards renters; capped rent increases at no more than 15 percent over a three-year period in addition to providing direct subsidies and generous tax exemptions to the public, non-profit, and private entities.

    Seemingly in Malaysia, we have done similar low cost housings such as the Rifle Range flats, built in 1969, in Air Itam. Rifle Range flats crammed 3,888 units in nine blocks of 17-storey buildings over a 16.7ha site.

    With flat units of an average size of 340 sq ft and having a bedroom each, residents were able to acquire the flat unit under a hire purchase scheme by paying RM30 monthly over a period of 30 years. It was an effective way to provide housing to the poor as it gave the residents the much needed confidence away from eviction as long as they comply with the terms and conditions.

    The sale of the units are regulated by the Penang state government to ensure that the units are sold to those who are genuinely in need of a home, thereby indirectly controlling price speculation as well.

    However, public housing took a backseat while mega shopping complexes took the front seat in priority. In 1992, the entire country had 1.2 million sq m of shopping complex space and by 2015 the retail space grew to 31.8 million sq m. Is it a necessity to have 32 million sq m of retail space for Malaysia’s total population of 30 million?

    This not only led to the depletion of valuable land that could have meant for public housing but also the increase in price for a decent public housing. Situations worsened as the Asian Economic Crisis hit us in the late 1990s, many of the shopping complexes failed, resulting in a glut of commercial space while a few unlucky ones had to be abandoned.

    On top of that, Penang was ill-prepared for the repeal of the Control of Rent Act that took effect from Jan 1, 2000. This resulted in a massive population decantation and the socio-cultural fabric of the inner city of George Town was completely destroyed.

    These pre-war houses had housed extended families but they are now forced to live in apartments, having to pay commercial financial institutions for decades and exorbitant maintenance fees as long as they are owning the unit.

    Lessons from HDB

    We have badly planned and poorly implemented housing policies. We should have picked up lessons from the Singapore’s Housing and Development Board (HDB) as it managed to build flats for more than 80 percent of the population in the island republic over seven decades (since 1947) while Malaysia is still looking for a solution.

    HDB’s predecessor, the Singapore Improvement Trust, built 20,907 units of public housing flats between 1947 and 1959, a span of 12 years, for its 1.6 million population before HDB took over in 1960. Within three years, HDB built 31,317 units of flats but the facilities then were spartan, emphasising on piped water and clean sanitation.

    Purchasers of the flats are able to use their Central Provident Fund (CPF) and grant schemes. The grant schemes were introduced to enable lower income to own their first home. It was said that buyers can expect to use less than 25 percent of their monthly household income to pay for the mortgage instalment of their first flat.

    So if land-strapped Singapore can do it, why can’t Malaysia? In 2015, Singapore had to squeeze its 5.61 million of its population into its 719.1 sq km of land area. It is a flawed argument to blame land shortage for housing prices to skyrocket because it depends on the government to prioritise public housing schemes over the construction of commercial buildings.

    One way to solve this problem is for the federal government to undertake the construction of public housing as it did in the 1960s or as how the Housing and Development Board of Singapore does to meet the demand.

    Penang experienced the success of Rifle Range flats in providing decent housing for the poor and today it has a flourishing community. However, this excellent effort fizzled out when public housing schemes are left to private developers and commercial lending institutions as we are experiencing now.

    Let us also learn how the iconic Arcade in Providence on Rhode Island was economically revived by turning the retail outlets of the two upper floors into 225 sq ft micro-lofts while maintaining the retail outlets on the ground floor. The Arcade is the oldest indoor shopping mall in the USA. that was built in 1828 and it was occupied by the first batch of tenants in 2013 after being converted into micro-lofts.

    There are a total of 48 ‘affordable’ units of which 46 are one-bedroom or studio units, one two-bedroom unit, and one-three bedroom unit at the Arcade. All are fully furnished. As in March 2016, there were more than 4,000 people in the waiting list to rent the Arcade’s micro-loft.

    CAP thinks that Malaysia can also revive shopping complexes in a similar way, rather than leaving them deserted while the population is clamouring for public housing that they can really afford. Malaysia just needs political will and good planning to drag itself out of this quagmire.

    SM MOHAMED IDRIS is president, Consumers Association of Penang.

  3. Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar has likened Johoreans who believe “lies” peddled on the Forest City development, to individuals who committed treason.

    “For Johoreans who are influenced, it is like they have committed treason.

    “All my hard work, my love, my efforts visiting all the districts every year, if this is what they show me, it is like they have disobeyed me,” he said in an interview with the New Straits Times.

  4. Buying a RM500,000 property? Better to rent, says expert
    (Property expert Ernest Cheong crunches the numbers and explains why it may be better to rent – rather than buy – a property these days)
    http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/03/22/buying-a-rm500000-property-better-to-rent-says-expert/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FreeMalaysiaToday+%28FMT+News%29

    PETALING JAYA: Thinking of buying a RM500,000 house?
    A veteran property expert said for that amount of money, renting might be a more viable option given the price of properties and the rising cost of living.
    “There is no shame in renting,” Ernest Cheong told FMT in a recent interview.
    “People often say, ‘If I rent a house, for the next 30 years I will only enrich the landlord and after 30 years I won’t own a home’.”
    Cheong said this was only true if a person could afford the monthly instalments for 30 years.
    But even then, Cheong said, given the inflated price of properties and the rising cost of living, people looking to own a home shouldn’t rush into owning one because, in the future, they might have other needs such as their children’s education or medical expenses.
    “Let’s look at a RM500,000 property as an example. Say, for that price, it is a 1,000 square feet apartment in Puchong with three bed rooms, with a rental value of RM1,500 a month.”
    “One man, Harry, rents it for RM1,500 a month, and his neighbour Sally decides to purchase her unit for RM500,000.”
    After 30 years, Cheong said, Harry would have paid his landlord a total of RM702,000 assuming that after every three years the rent was increased by RM100 per month.
    Sally, meanwhile, would have paid RM50,000 for the 10% deposit required and taken a RM450,000 bank loan to pay the balance 90% of the purchase price.
    “She would also have to pay around RM40,000 in stamp duty and legal fees.”
    With a 30 year loan, Cheong said, Sally’s monthly repayment to the bank would be around RM2,734 per month.
    “In 30 years, Sally would have paid the bank a total of RM984,240 (RM2,734 x 360 months) and plus the 10% (RM50,000) deposit and RM40,000 legal fees and stamp duty, she would have paid a grand total of RM1,074,240 for her apartment.”
    Cheong, a chartered surveyor, said over the period of 30 years, the value of both properties might increase three-fold, but this might only be on paper.
    “In reality, we are now seeing an oversupply of residential units and with the rising cost of living, can many people say with confidence that they can afford a bank loan repayment of over RM2,734 a month for 30 years? Or that the value of properties will go up as planned?”
    In recent times, Cheong noted, it had been reported that EPF figures showed there were 14.5 million working Malaysians in the country, of whom 89% were earning less than RM5,000 a month.
    Cheong said a lot could happen in 30 years, with children needing to go to college or salaries not rising in tandem with the cost of living.
    “So in reality, renting may not be a bad option because it allows you to be flexible. Lose a job or need to raise funds? Move to a cheaper place. If you take a loan, you’re committed for 30 years. Sure, you could sell the place, but are you sure you can get the ideal price given the oversupply of properties nowadays?”
    Cheong said if people couldn’t afford to repay their bank loan at any time within the 30-year period, they might lose all their money, or even be made bankrupt if they could not sell the property at a price sufficient enough to pay the balance of the loan.
    This, Cheong said, was why renting a property – rather than buying one – was a viable option which people should consider.

    • Ernest Cheong made wrong prediction about property bubble bursting a few years ago, making people quickly disposed their properties for fear of losing money only to see the assets went up in price instead. Now he is asking you to rent? Trust him and live to regret.

      • Rumah Impian Bangsa Penang should be pursued by PCM Major Huan if he is sincere in championing Penang to own affordable homes.

        Rich Penangite Jho Low can cleanse himself by being like Sultan Johor using his wealth to create RM100K homes with RM1 deposit with opening ceremony by Psy performance ?

      • Quote: Rumah Impian Bangsa Penang should be pursued by PCM Major Huan if he is sincere in championing Penang to own affordable homes.
        Why nonsensically ask other (who is not even chairing the State Planning Committee – SPC) when that cheap discount [email protected] has all the power in SPC to do it??? Even to give big discount to match Johor with an excuse of “I don’t know the market price” which is even more convincing to Penangites who may thereafter wholeheartedly support “I Love Penang”

  5. The creme de la creme of the country’s property developers with outstanding projects have been honoured at the StarProperty.my Awards 2017.

    Leading the cream of the crop were 10 local developers that received the “All-Star Awards – Top Ranked Developers of the Year” accolade for their consistency in creating and adding value to their property projects.

    They were Eco World Development Group Bhd, Gamuda Land, IJM Land Bhd, IOI Properties Group Bhd, Mah Sing Group Bhd, Sime Darby Property Bhd, SP Setia Bhd, Sunway Bhd, Tropicana Corp Bhd and UEM Sunrise Bhd.

    Star Media Group Bhd group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, in his speech on Tuesday said the Awards were aimed at recognising developers with state-of-the-art developments and business models that took into account corporate and social responsibilities via the development of sustainable communities.

    http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/03/21/top-property-developers-honoured-for-outstanding-projects/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    “Through sheer innovation, they have created new demand in the market space”
    – like that so got hope to find willing buyers for housing on artificial islands eg Forest City even if no buyer from China?

  6. Anil, your Readers’ Alerts is not working, so I put this here:
    Days of colourful bazaar numbered

    NEVER MIND Line Clear Nasi Kandar and its public health violations. There is an even larger group of traders facing the power of the city council and they seem to be going head on.
    The Kuala Kangsar Road morning market enjoys a four-star rating on Trip Advisor, but the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) wants its 200-odd traders to be gone.
    I went to interview the traders when word reached us that the council has begun cracking the whip.
    To say the traders are unhappy is an understatement. Their rice bowls are being threatened.
    They have been writing posters in red, angry words, criticising MBPP and the state government.
    In some of these posters, photographed and flashed on Facebook, they lambast certain government leaders with undisguised resentment.
    In all probability, these were the leaders they more than willingly voted in during the 2013 general election. But break their rice bowls and all bets are off.
    Many of the hawkers are unlicensed, selling “everything under the sun”, according to a Trip Advisor reviewer.
    This narrow road runs almost directly north and south, so the prewar houses block the sun until high noon.
    The shade, I feel, must have helped the market evolve and thrive for so many decades.
    How long it has existed is a point of debate. Some claim early traders dominated the road since before WWII. Others said they started only in the 1970s.
    Fish, cosmetics, chicken, shoes, vegetables, back scratchers, spices, LED torchlights, fruits, toothbrushes – you name it, there is a stall that sells it.
    There is some fun in that. Shopping can be a “therapeutic adventure” and de-stressing for many.
    There is an unexplainable delight to scanning through haphazardly laid out offerings in search of bargains.
    These unhappy traders will soon cease to exist as the eligible ones are assigned space in the new Chowrasta Market complex while those who do not have to move away.
    MBPP wants Kuala Kangsar Road to be open to vehicles in the mornings and it wants to draw parking lots on the road.
    Eligible traders must move into the RM13mil refurbished complex, which has 289 stalls with 156 on the ground floor, 58 on the first floor and 75 facing Chowrasta Road.
    This raised concerns among Penangites debating on social media.
    Many believe the market has an old-world charm and are in favour of preserving its excitement and carnival-like atmosphere.
    Another side is for the law and order that MBPP has been imposing for many years.
    A market on a road creates pollution, traffic jams and unlicensed trading.
    The dilemma is: should we listen to town planners or retailers in deciding how to create a good shopping experience for people?
    Will engineer-endorsed rows of stalls in a building or a noisy bazaar on the road splashed with colourful hawker umbrellas yield a delightful shopping paradise?
    But there is another factor not so widely known.
    Since the 1970s, a Hong Kong developer owns many of the prewar properties in the Kuala Kangsar Road area, particularly at the end closer to Komtar.
    It is no secret that applications for planning permissions and building plans have been submitted.
    Revelations of the ownership surfaced a few months ago when a prewar shop lot near a famous cendol seller in Keng Kwee Street, between Kuala Kangsar Road and Penang Road, was renovated without proper approval.
    The area is within the buffer zone of the heritage enclave, and the developer will surely adhere to all the relevant laws.
    For this corner of the heritage hub to thrive, however, the council is duty-bound to ensure that the road is usable.
    It is the petty traders on that road who are not acting in accordance with the law, and so are they in the way of development?

    My Observation: Tis the price of Cosmopolitan Penang Frenzied for many who foolishly voted for this unexpected Cosmo-Frenzied UBAH-ed Melakan politician (after a taste of Merc). The old world charm of George Town is not in the favour of CAT gomen slippery agenda but more an obstacle to its greed for fast money via licences, taxes, etc. So Jalan Kuala Kangsar roadside stalls of unique characters & tourist attraction (like Thailand’s) has to go. Now you know why we call them political traders (of priceless old world charm assets for Slippery Cosmo Bin Chui). I hope Khoo Salma bravely speaks out in the Council.

    • While I try to fix the Readers’ Alerts, please put such off-topic posts under more relevant posts on this blog. You can use the blog search function to find such posts.

    • The so-called “Cosmopolitan Penang Frenzied” is the direct result of inevitable society change driven by capitalism and consumerism in modern cities. Even the first tier cities in China got a big and quick transition from communist-driven socialism to capitalism in no time. Also the millenial smartphone generation chooses to adopt lifestyle fashioned and defined by capitalistic and consumerist western world (the likes of Apple, Starbucks) of spending rather than saving to keep up with trends to stay hip.

      Learn to embrace change, curb your phobia. Socialism has failed, and can never return. No need to subject yourself to mental torture putting blame on others including the state government of taking away the old world charm of idyllic laid back kampung life of yesteryears. Always remember Penang is a City, where change is accelerated. Can always retreat to the mainland kampungs to recapture old lifestyle (weekend homes in outskirts towns is therefore getting popular now to temporarily escape the hustle and bustle of city life), and not being emotionally disturbed and stressed by the sight Cosmo bin Chui (people with the financial capacity and propensity to spend, however slippery to you).

      • Americans used to hate Osama bin Laden, here our friend tunglang is hating Cosmo bin Chui. ha ha ha…

      • We didn’t ask for Cosmopolitan Penang Frenzied.
        We didn’t ask for Economy Class Sandiwara if it was but a Sandiwara.
        We didn’t vote for a CAT Chameleon if all the 308-Saliva Talks of DAP for all Penangites is meant for nothing but for fooling us.
        We didn’t ask for socio-engineering (economic emigration to other states) but when comes GE, this DAP can shamelessly ask for our votes (again?).

        So, you love to be fooled?
        Pls don’t justify with all these capitalism & consumerism for a spin.
        Unless you are truly not in touch with realities of ground zero of Cosmopolitan Penang Frenzied.

    • I read with amuse, this knee-jerkings:
      lawless society just to create ‘the old world charm of George Town’ where unlicensed traders block traffic
      No Fees to MBPP but willingly pay protection Ang pow money to Geng 24?
      No proper drainage, washing raw food and used utensils indiscriminately by the roadside long kang and no grease trap to discharge of ‘black tea’?
      Cat-rat infested Nasi Kandar on dirty alley to amuse Anthony Bourdain just to get into world TV, operate 24 hrs 365 days a year with no effort to clean up the premises?

      This fella may not have visited the said place, much in imagined fear of lawlessness.
      If this lawlessness is true, many would have closed shops!

      Unlicensed traders? Anybody who operates as such would have been fined by MBPP many times!
      How to survive? Pls get real.
      Protection Ang pow money to Geng 24 – maybe since this fella may be one of Geng 24!

      No proper drainage, washing raw food…
      May I suggest this fella take a walk to see how these food & meat stalls clean up after a day’s work. No need for imagination of the alley cats.

      Cat-rat infested Nasi Kandar on dirty alley. This one, just ask MBPP why it is still allowed to do business 24/7/365. What enforcement is this?
      If want to relocate, also be fair. First, relocate Line Clear.

      • If wealthy people can spend and you cannot, then please do not envy them. Tell your kids to strive hard in life to earn the money to enjoy consumerism, based on needs though.

      • Nobody is envying. It is your myopia that is envying & intolerant of others’ opinions & differences. It is your type that thrives on social-engineering based on wants (of desires) rather than empathy for the have-nots. Such arrogance will never last.
        Pls grow up if you want to be a part of a truly cosmopolitan society of different cultures, thinking & lifestyles, & not being stubbornly arrogant in a society built only for the rich & famous based on your fancied wants.

      • tunglang must be leading a very bitter life, tasting sour grapes everyday, spewing negative remarks. Cheer up, man!

      • You want to deny there are Penangites who are miserable in a socially-engineered & are dissatisfied against environmentally ‘raped’ hills & seas in Cosmopolitan Penang except for knee-jerks-labelled-miserable tunglang?
        Or indifferent to some of your office peers or richie folks who are now in deep s… b’cos they can’t sell off their speculated properties as promised by property gurus & they must (for the sake of CAT) be happy with an up front face?
        Or some of your friendly neighbours have to move out of Penang & you close a blind eye in the name of Niao Kong’s Cosmopolitan Penang Frenzied?
        Or enjoyed Cosmo-Sushi as more fishermen lost their incomes & enter a bleak future?
        Or you care not for the future generations of Penangites but for yourself & your wants of individualism + selfish materialistic pursuits?

        You make me laugh to say I am the one & only miserable Penangite!
        (go ask God for the truth, if you can hear Him)

        I write not just for myself, not always in your imagined misery, but more of shared common grounds with genuine concerns for fellow Penangites whom I have had the chance to talk to (housewives, labourers, office boys, even professionals) & to find out what exactly are the contentious issues. So to help highlight & voice out in the most effective social media like anilnetto.com (a thorn on the side of CAT?)

        I read Anil’s articles which are no shoe-polishing (as some knee-jerks would want or insist Anil to change topics to make it sound sweet melodies to them & their [email protected]) & which have common interests to mine.

        I wrote with no political apologies (as I am not a Komtar Dedak addict), with no hidden agenda but to help correct this CAT Gomen if it is not always arrogant but have eyes & ears to read + listen.

        And I spare some time (time is not always addicted to money-making) to contribute to this blog as I am a Penangite who genuinely loves Penang to mindfully not to destroy it beyond recognition.

  7. Investors from mainland China who made down payments to buy property in the controversial Forest City development are in limbo, thanks to China’s capital controls.

    According to the South China Morning Post, buyers are unable to secure loans from China banks nor transfer funds overseas to make the due payments. Even payments made to a Hong Kong account are rejected, it reported.

    This has prompted buyers to seek a refund on their down payments, but to no avail, the Hong Kong-based daily reported.

    In SEA, M’sia has most kids in English language international schools
    “Now we understand all further installments need to be paid abroad. But this is not allowed due to the foreign exchange controls from the Chinese government,” said another Forest City purchaser, Vicky Wu from Guangzhou.

    “If we do so, we will be put on the government’s black list,” she was quoted as saying.

    The company’s sales centres in mainland China cities were also closed “for renovation” earlier this month, but Forest City developer Country Garden representative denied it was related to Beijing capital controls, SCMP said.

    http://malaysiakini.com/news/376411

    • My rich friends and relatives from India would not make Malaysia their second home because of the presence of Zakir Naik, said to be given PR in Malaysia to set up his institute in Terengganu to propagate his brand of Islam that the Indian government has disallowed.

      So do not count on Indian nationals to rescue Forest City even if there is a fire sale.

    • Something is very, very wrong in Hong Kong.
      But PRC is giving it an autonomous reign on chicken coops housing!
      Nepalese & chickens have it better with fresh air & no wire mesh fencing overhead just to keep out thieves.
      We have seen this coops housing in Japan a decade ago, now it’s happening in HK. Where next?

      • all because they want to stay put in pg. they do not want to move to new territories. they prefer the island. every day thousands of ah chans from mainland are coming to hk under family reunion. there are also tun langs in hk oppose reclamation and botak hills. of course mainlanders are next door loaded with cash. they buy in cash.

    • It has been that way in Hong Kong before the 1999 take over by PRC.
      Hong Kongers want capitalist and democratic society, so they accept the rich-poor divide reality of a typical Ah Chan vs Lee Kar Tshing. The people there worked for their money and do not count too much on government handouts. Ironically lately many Hong Kongers migrated to Taiwan for more freedom or better housing?

      Housing in major cities in Taiwan like Taipei and Kaosiong are also expensive for the locals, and most of them stay in outskirts towns and commute to work like Seremban folks taking commuter train to KL to work. It is thus inevitable that George Town will be too expensive and average Penangites (new generation particularly) would have to own more affordable homes in Seberang Prai/Batu Kawan and commute to work in the island via Penang Sentral/ferry or the 2 bridges. Therefore a good public transport plan on the Island is a must as non-subsidise Ron95 will make self-driving an expensive luxury.

      • Then 308 Saliva Talks were mere political trader sales pitches.
        What political will is there except for Merc S300Lansi & cheap bungalow of “I don’t know market price”.
        All the Economy Flight on MAS was just a sandiwara to fool Penangites into believing a Cheapo “Saviour” politician had ‘arrived’ who could bravely bring about ‘economy lifestyle’ for all – economy inclusive of affordable housing for the majority 90% of Penangites. Instead we see 90% high-end property development for all? & merely 10% affordable housing for majority?
        Common, we were Foolish Penangites some of the times, but not all of the times (comes next GE).

      • just like tua pek kong buying a 4wd with bull bars and ride around heritage george town. have a good look at one self before throwing stones at glass house.

  8. Anil, Readers’ Alerts still not working.
    Here’s one issue for discourse:
    Party drugs: Shady deals behind Penang’s lively nightlife
    https://sg.news.yahoo.com/party-drugs-shady-deals-behind-040105044.html

    Actually, these drug habits have been around as far back as the 90s where head-shaking drugs were designer drugs in parties & clubs.
    One one occasion (2004) while waiting to pick up a colleague in Butterworth on our way to a company trip in Taman Negara, I saw a group of party goers (some still head-shaking) just about to leave a club at the break of dawn (6.30am). This club finished business this ‘late’?
    Now with Cosmopolitan Frenzied, Penang like most major cities is fast becoming a favourite haunt for these menacing drug distributors & die-hard addicts. Just walk into any club in Auto City, Upper Penang Road just to name a few rendezvous & see for yourself the rhythmic head-shaking in tandem to the beats.
    Is this one of UBAH?

      • Ohh, Datuks ? True one or not ?
        Lately, a lot of “Datins” are gossiping in the social functions regarding which one is “counterfeit” lah !

      • The practice of awarding Datukships should be abolished altogether and all the existing titles awarded to individuals should be rescinded. Let everybody be called by their names given by their parents and let everybody be equal. These titles have become nothing but a mockery because of their rampant nature and total abuse.

    • State enforcement agencies like MBPP (inclusive of its Mayor) should work harder to monitor & rid of premises doing illegal businesses (behind legal fronts) – setting up a legal business front but selling illegal 4-Ekor, Ah Long money lending, drug peddling, prostitutions & quickie sex, exchange of illegal workers, online gambling, betting, etc.
      If Penang state gomen truly wants a safe, no-gang, no-crime Cosmopolitan Penang, it should do something like its CAT initiative which is done for & within its own administration. Work with the Polis, not compete with it.
      Otherwise, Cosmo-Penang is a thriving centre for criminals, illegal activities & even murders.
      No pride in the global accolade for Penang, a liveable international city, if nothing is done with political will (which means no beholden to any entities including businessmen cum gangsters). Can or not, CAT Gomen???

  9. Property development & investment (including speculations) the way to get rich or even wealthy?
    Think again:
    1) China’s capital controls which may take years, affecting overseas investment including properties
    2) Possibility of China developers stalling existing housing projects (which is now common in China 3rd tier cities)
    3) Rise in US interest rate (due to Trump’s protectionist policies) may affect local costs of borrowings
    4) Who want to spend on high ticket, long term commitment like housing when the purchasing power of majority 90+% (low middle to upper middle income groups, no need to mention the low income earners) has diminished month by month?
    5) Renting of homes (as a temporary budgeting measure) is making a comeback as in the 50s – mid 80s.
    6) Who can afford high legal fees when the prices of homes is still high?
    7) The signs are there of an imminent housing bubble (learn from US). Open your eyes & not be temporarily exhilarated by promises of “happiness” when the high monthly financial commitment is no real happiness of many years.
    8) Read more of (impartial) comments in anilnetto.com to judge for yourself. No knee-jerks, no political emo, pls.

    • Why waste time here? Go STAR papers and tell your sad stories to developers and potential property buyers.

      China has hundreds of billionaires and thousands and up to million of millionaires. Please preach to them

    • See how Singapore Government makes HDB public housing affordable for young couples in its 2017 budget:

      The CPF Housing Grant, which was previously capped at $30,000, has been raised to $50,000 for couples who purchase four-room flats or smaller from the resale market and to $40,000 for those who buy flats that are five-room or bigger. However, such couples can end up receiving up to $110,000 in subsidies with both the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) and Proximity Housing Grant (PHG).

      According to AHG rules, applicants can get up to $40,000 depending on their income, while the PHG gives up to a further $20,000 for those who live near their parents. The measure will cost the Government an additional $110 million a year.

      http://www.ibtimes.sg/budget-2017-singapore-have-affordable-resale-hdb-flats-first-timer-couples-7720

      • Many good policies Penang can emulate from Spore.
        For example, make driving private vehicles very expensive then locals no choice to car pool or go Rapid.
        Less vehicles on road, save $ no need spend on highways to pollute our lungs.

      • why this guy complains when car parking are collected until late hours? area restriction is very costly and difficult to implement. what can pg lang do when sing or trengganu car enter restricted zone?

      • ‘This guy’ prefers lawless society just to create ‘the old world charm of George Town’ where unlicensed traders block traffic to justify the environment of ‘noisy bazar’ of heritage enclave that facied the foreign Trip Advisor? No Fees to MBPP but willingly pay protection Ang pow money to Geng 24? No proper drainage, washing raw food and used utensils indiscriminately by the roadside long kang and no grease trap to discharge of ‘black tea’? Cat-rat infested Nasi Kandar on dirty alley to amuse Anthony Bourdain just to get into world TV, operate 24 hrs 365 days a year with no effort to clean up the premises?

        See how Singapore has successfully relocated street hawkers, licensed or not, into hawker centre to create hygienic dining environment – even producing Michelin-recognised hawkers today.

      • Just ask that cheap discount [email protected] can he do it or not?
        No point showering sky-high credits to him for trying to emulate SingLand when this simple but important housing matter (for the majority) is seen to be a mission impossible!
        Dream on!

  10. Don’t enrich like who can splash $even if their purchased properties are left vacant.

    If we don’t start to enrich ourselves, forever we find fault with others.

    • It is not a case of enriching oneself in order to afford the hi-end lifestyle. Just look at the middle income group – even they are finding it hard to get a loan for 400K home. And how many in the upper middle income group (10K monthly household) can afford a 700K home?
      It is clearly a growing divide between those who can afford a home & those who cannot.
      Before these frenzies of price hikes, speculations & cartel-like pricing property market, the middle income earners can easily afford a 300K home but not now.
      We can all work like dogs just to own (owning technically means paying off the home loan completely) a hi-priced home at the end of our deflated work-life & attained upper middle income earning power while the happiness-developers have already laughed (much earlier – 35 years) all the way to the banks when we sign the S&P for a 35 yrs of commitment to unhappiness.
      Do you find happiness in that kind of manipulated lifestyle?

      • The issue of escalating home prices very likely due to many so scared of not owning home to have herd mentality to buy or take loan to pay developers for overpriced condos. If majority can hold their bin chui to rent and don’t contribute to rising condo prices, then developers will have to think twice to impose such new lifestyle to you.

        Its like some prefer franchised espresso at RM10, while some stick to traditional salute 2in1 35 sen kopi o.

        Willing sellers non willing buyers can bring condo prices to more reasonable level.

      • Go work and live in small towns where housing is cheaper and lifestyle is simpler, can cycle to work, no need to buy car.

      • Many Penang folks failed to realize or chose not to believe that Penang is moving towards a modern city on capitalism. Given it is a small island, land is certainly a premium thus high property costs. Important thing is for the wages to go up but the national policy of importing cheap foreign labor does not help. Based on some comment before, I have seen that many local coffee shops and restaurants employ more than necessary the number of cheap foreign labor to run their business without attempting to improve productivity for wage increase to those efficient local employees. The effect of capitalism is becoming real to most readers here when the wage disparity and wealth gap are becoming evident each day.

      • dont spin and bodek for your political masters. look at rest of country. worse. rave snd ranting so much. no suggestions and spoil our mood with your complains.if you are those highly educated give suggestions. even a 6yr old can complain. pl dont lower yr grandpa ststus to 6yr old

      • Unhappy Penangites can move south, denounce their Penangite status, adopt Bangsa Johor status and apply for Sultan Johor special housing costing only RM100K.

      • I read with utter amusement of some senseless Knee-Jerks’ insistence to Penangites to move out of state (east – SP, Kulim or south – Johor) if cannot afford to live here. While our Venerable (can do no wrong) Penang CM dances to the opportunistic tune of ‘I Love Penang’, a self-contradictory campaign to garner populist support in the face of highly-imagined orang minyak (bogeyman) challenges from FT proposal + undeniable unprecedented environmental destructions & unaffordable housing for the 99% Penangites!

        How to ‘I Love Penang’ when some of us have to ’emigrate’ to other states, or further south of the state border as proposed by some senseless Knee-Jerks?

        What a waste of political dedaks feeding these senseless Knee-Jerks!

  11. China’s capital controls start biting
    http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/03/19/chinas-capital-controls-start-biting-projects-with-chinese-investments-in-malaysia-however-are-still/
    This is a no brainer unless one cannot think of alternative like building more truly affordable housing for Malaysians (instead) or reduce the present sky-high price quantum (better to sell some than to see zero).
    This is my 2-cent realistic solution (for developers) unless some … cannot accept b’cos they cannot spin further or some who speak of envies (which is surreal only to their minds).

    • Q. Why black tea? Act of gods or people? Your dog do business in foot path Tua pek Kong expect others to clean your dog’s job?

      • You are welcomed to drink as you see this as part of your divine Komtar Dedak contribution! Your ranting is illogical unless you taste it to make better comments!

      • No brainer. If people like tun Lang keeps polluting the rivers with black kopi it shows gilakan federal education is not civilIsing the students. Further tun Lang wants fishermen to carry fishing with black kopI flowing into the sea.

    • Where did the silt comes from? From indo, tsunami or mainland? From black tea result by acts of man? If black tea, tun Lang still wants fishermen to fish around the coast. The fish must have extra ingredient or seasoning.

  12. But then again, hopefully we don’t land up as in Shenzhen or Hongkong where a pigeon cage with only 62 to 80 sq.ft would cost you about HKD900,000 ! Living is horrendous there !

    • We don’t do the hopefully-thinking.

      We CHALLENGE + CHANGE (UBAH) the present state gomen’s propensities to do harm to socio-economic environment which in turn can also damage (irreparably) our natural environment.
      This CAT Gomen sees the instant money in swap deals, but ‘it’ doesn’t see the alternative options for a better future. What the … hell is ‘it’s’ UBAH for good? when ‘it’ is doing the exact opposite? We don’t need no political traders who have no qualms trading our present for a future of pigeon cages ala HK.

  13. .
    From Dust to dust
    from water of the ocean, it [ all that is claimed from the ocean] will go back to the ocean
    have we not learned from the tsunami
    There must be a progression of ecological balance taking place for humanity to survive
    mangrove need to flourish and protect the islands from the coming of the future tsunamis
    No balance , no place for man on island or sea

  14. look at google map of pg island, how much and where are the lands for future developments? demolish and urban renewal or botak and cut hills or reclaim lands. we have tua pek kong tasting belum still wants to stay in pg and someone says mainland is too far.so everyone wants to stay on island even become pek kong. this creates demand. looped sided demand.

  15. Anil, over here in Penang, it all started with the Insidious CAT Swap Deals of the 21st Century.
    Beholden to these greedy developers of high end properties is an under statement.
    It’s more like you scratch my back with cat’s paws, I scratch yours with Ringgit.
    So, it’s a no-brainer how 3 Fantasy Islands can become a marketing fantasy for seekers of Happiness of Bing-Chui.
    Mr Tattoo, you may apply for a job at Komtar specifically for the 3 Fantasy Islands. Oh yes, there will be many planes flying near by just north-east of these 3 islands for your introductory call: “The plane, the plane!”

      • Tua pek Kong does not want PTMP but wants more cars on road causing more smog and global warning

      • Another no brainer when fathers send theIR children to study arch and engineers. They study arch and Eng to build dog houses or attap houses or foot paths to backlanes?further developers have too much money to throw money around?

      • Penangites must have incentive to work hard/smart to have good income to own good homes. Those complain, grumble and unhappy will remain so to be envious of those who could afford based on their earning ability.

      • They only know the solution and answer is to complain and make noise even they are highly educated. they can’t offer alternative solution. Like academics they all talk in perfect and ideal environment that will never go wrong

Please join in the discussion