Political climate poses a big challenge to economic recovery post pandemic

PETALING JAYA (Jan 19): Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia (Rehda) Malaysia president Datuk Soam Heng Choon believes that the political climate in the country will pose a big challenge to an economic recovery post Covid-19 pandemic.

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Speaking at the virtual fireside chat entitled “Impact of MCO 2.0 on the Malaysian Property Sector” today, Soam pointed out that the ongoing political situation in the country could be a reason that influenced foreign investors’ interest in coming to Malaysia.

“I’m surprised that we are losing to Indonesia. Amazon and Google have gone there. These are digital companies and do not require affordable labourers, which is Indonesia’s strength,” he noted.

Soam added that only by addressing the elephant in the room, can the economy move forward.

“When the economy moves, people will have more income and are more willing to buy property, so that we [developers] can provide more jobs. Because of the political overhang, the economy is not moving and foreign investors are not coming.”

Meanwhile, deputy president of Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) Oliver Wee Hiang Chyn said he is not that worried about the economy post Covid-19 as he believes the people in the industry are experienced given the past history in excellent economic recoveries.

Instead, he noted that different property industry stakeholders such as Rehda, Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) and MBAM should sit down together and reach a mutual agreement on how they should tackle the current industry challenges and problems to mitigate damage and losses.

“Rather than focusing on what project we are going to have post Covid-19, this is what we should focus on instead.”

On the other hand, PAM president Datuk Ezumi Harzani Ismail added that it would be helpful if Singapore property industry Covid-19 regulations can be imposed here in Malaysia, such having four-month time freeze and clearer indication of pandemic additional costs incurred to make sure no parties are taking advantage of the situation and share the losses.

“Nonetheless, I am optimistic that we should be in a better position in the second half of this year as the vaccine is here,” Ezumi concluded.

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