Steven Ng

KUALA LUMPUR (July 26): Mah Sing Group Bhd has expressed support for the government's proposal that a single regulatory body be set up to supervise the property sector in Malaysia.

"I think it's a good move. The government is trying to address the issue of first time homebuyers," said the property developer's executive director Datuk Steven Ng.

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani yesterday said that the government is looking to establish a single authority to regulate the property sector, due in part to the need to address the issue of residential house prices being unaffordable.

Ng said it would be difficult to put a definite threshold for affordability rate as property prices vary significantly according to location.

"We are doing our part by making our products below RM500,000 in strategic locations. We also want to play a role to support the government's initiative," he told reporters at the sidelines of Invest Malaysia 2017.

Ng said Mah Sing has been constantly in discussion with the government to address certain issues within the property sector.

Some of the issues raised pertaining to affordable housing are land costs, compliance costs and lending requirements, he said.

"In order to develop affordable house, a few things (need to be considered); the land cost must be affordable, which you cannot control but is dependent on demand and supply. We also talked about the compliance cost, which is currently quite high.

"Lending requirement must also be relaxed," he said.

Mah Sing chief executive officer Datuk Ho Hon Sang highlighted the issue of different requirements from different local authorities, saying it is posing a problem for developers to keep costs low in order to build affordable housing.

"It is good to standardise (the regulations), so that developers who embark in this affordable housing will be able to forecast the cost structure," he said.

Ng also proposed that the government's initiatives such as the PR1MA step up financing scheme be applied to affordable housing developed by the private sector. — theedgemarkets.com

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