Mah Sing Budget 2017 wish list

LeongPETALING JAYA (Sept 19): Mah Sing Group Bhd wants the government to consider introducing more easing and stimulus policies in Budget 2017 to spur the growth of the property industry and the overall economy.

In a statement today, Mah Sing group managing director Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum said the property industry has a large multiplier effect on other industries. Hence, stimulating the property industry would therefore have a larger impact on the wider economy.

Among the measures Leong hopes that the government would consider is to revise the percentage of funds in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Accounts One and Two.

By increasing the percentage of funds in Account Two from the current 30% to 40% of EPF balances, EPF contributors could then have more funds in Account Two to pay the down payment of their property purchase, reduce their housing loan and pay their monthly housing loan instalments, he added.

Meanwhile, Leong believes the government can greatly mitigate shortage in the supply of affordable housing by systematically releasing government lands for joint ventures with private developers at reasonable prices in order for developers to build affordable homes.

“The careful planning and implementation of government development projects with close monitoring of the demand-supply situation will ensure sustainability in supply relative to demand,” he said.

Leong also hopes that banks will consider relaxing loan approvals and have the flexibility to lend up to 95% for first-time homebuyers, 90% for purchase of second homes and 70% for third homes.

He wished that the debt service ratio for first-time homebuyers could be increased from 70% to 80% and loan tenures could be extended from 35 years to 40 years.

He also said utility companies should bear the capital outlay for infrastructure and recoup their investment via tariff instead of the current practice of charging developers the costs upfront. This would reduce compliance costs, he added.

“Connection charges posed by utility companies should be reasonably charged and not based on the selling prices of the houses,” he said.

In addition, the government can lower the cost of developer charges and land conversion premiums as these charges represent heavy compliance costs, he added.

All these would result in cost savings that can be passed on to home purchasers, he concluded.

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