CASSA: Deal With The ‘Black Hands” In Property Industry!

Dato Jacob George

‘CASSA takes the lead in addressing housing issues in Malaysia with (3Ps) – pragmatism, professionalism and policy initiatives!’ – Datuk Dr Jacob George

Deal with ‘black hands’ in property industry to check soaring prices

Cindi Loo – The Ant Daily.

PETALING JAYA: There should be more focus on tackling the problems contributing to soaring property prices than just protesting against the Housing and Local Government Ministry.

Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam (Cassa) chairman Datuk Dr Jacob George said a protest against the ministry would be a futile exercise.

“It sends the wrong message to the government and puts them on the defensive when they are also a stakeholder in ensuring the property market remains competitive and affordable.

“It is better to engage with the ministry to come up with an action plan to intervene in the housing industry and better monitor property prices and location.

“Being offensive sends the wrong signal to the ministry and some property developers who are trying to maintain good practices,” he told theantdaily.

He was responding to a news report that Parti Sosialis Malaysia, together with other NGOs (non-governmental organisations), planned to stage a protest against the skyrocketing housing prices outside the ministry.

PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan told Malaysiakini that a house was a basic right for Malaysians but property speculators have bought houses to bump up the prices for profiting.

The news portal also cited figures from the national property information centre, indicating house prices continue to soar but the increase had slowed down since the third quarter of 2013.

George

George said the current procedure in buying and selling of properties was a systemic problem that causes the next generation unable to afford the basic needs of owning a house.

“This is a universal issue that other countries such as Singapore, Thailand and the United Kingdom are also facing, with property prices driven up by land scarcity.

“Some activities of cartel blocking in the name of business interests are also contributing to soaring prices of properties,” he added.

George said: “There should be a long-term engagement with the ministry in coming up with measures to warn developers engaged in insider dealings. Such ‘black hand’ deals should be stopped with warnings to revoke the licences of developers.”

He also suggested that NGOs come up with a catalogue listing of all property developers and rate them so that consumers can differentiate between those who are observing best practices and those who practice bad management.

“Although it is not easy, it is better to forge a relationship this way rather than going on a collision course with the authorities. At the end of the day, organisations must deliver for the interest of consumers,” he said.

The federal government unveiled in Budget 2014 two preventive measures to curb intense property speculation that is driving the prices of houses up to unrealistic heights.

One measure is increasing the real property gains tax increase to 30 per cent, to be imposed on profits gained from the sale of properties within three years of purchase.

The other measure is to remove the Developer Interest Bearing Scheme (DIBS) as it was seen to be abused by property speculators.