SPEECH BY THE RT. HONORABLE CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG IN CONJUCTION WITH THE OFFICIAL LAUNCHING OF MAPEX CITY 2014
I am very pleased to be invited here today to officiate the MAPEX CITY 2014 put together by REHDA and Henry Butcher. MAPEX (1) held earlier this year in February at G Hotel as I understand was very well received by potential house buyers.
2. I would like to congratulate REHDA and Henry Butcher Penang, the organizers of MAPEX CITY 2014 for the excellent organization of today’s event which is also the second launch of MAPEX within the same year.
3. Penang remains a favourite destination for property investments. With the announcement of the opening of IKEA and its accompanying RM 8 billion development at Batu Kawan followed by the RM 11.3 billion joint-venture agreement with Singapore Temasek Holdings to develop the high tech industrial park. More property development will take place not only in Batu Kawan but also in the neighbouring areas and around Penang.
4. The new housing guideline on the implementation of a 3% levy on property purchase by foreigners and RM 1 million limit and RM 2 million for landed property on the island has not deterred them from investing in real estate in Penang. Penang continues to be a location of choice for living and working in the manufacturing and services sector where beaches and hills are within minutes of each other. Principally Penang is attractive not only because we are a UNESCO World Heritage city but also clean, green, safe and healthy.
5.On top of that, we are also a cultural capital and, most important of all, home to the best food in the world. This is the reason in February 2014, Penang was voted by Lonely Planet as the top culinary spot in 2014 and recently in September, Forbes.com voted George Town as the top 3 amongst the 7 Best Places to Retire Abroad.
6. The Penang State Government will continue its strenuous efforts to transform Penang into an international and intelligent city that is a location of choice for investors, a destination of choice for tourists and a habitat of choice for residents who desire sustainable living. We will continue our plan to make Penang, the first green state in Malaysia. The “Car Free Day” held every Sunday at Beach Street, our month long George Town Festival has gained popularity amongst locals and tourists alike. More and more people are cycling around George Town and it is a fun way to discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site besides promoting healthy living.
7. However the most critical success factor as a livable city is a people-centric government. A government is only as good as its people by relying and keeping faith in the judgment, wisdom and wishes of the rakyat, our success is assured.
8.The Penang state government again urges Bank Negara to reinstate Developer Interest Bearing Scheme(DIBS) for first-time buyers as well as increase and extend Syarikat Jaminan Kredit Perumahan(SJKP) to buyers of affordable homes costing from RM72,500 up to RM400,000. Ever since DIBS was abolished, many first-time buyers of affordable housing could not obtain bank loans to buy their own homes.
9.Up to 70% of the housing loan applications, including low-cost and low-medium cost(LC/LMC), have been rejected by private banks. Bank Negara should reinstate the Developer Interest Bearing Scheme(DIBS) for first-time buyers to enable them to realise their dream of owning their own homes. Legal fees should also be part of the DIBS package and stamp duty should be waived to lower the initial entry cost for first time home buyers.
10.Lastly, I am happy to note that REHDA believes in giving back to the community through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. REHDA has assisted the less fortunate inmates of charitable homes by providing wheelchairs, walking sticks, bed frames, pillows, bed sheets, lunch and entertainment besides helping to paint the building. REHDA’s corporate social responsibility in rendering assistance for the less fortunate communities will be a step forward aimed at inculcating a CSR mindset not only for REHDA but also all developers.
11. Today once again, I am informed that for the first time, the organizers of a property event will be donating a sum of RM50,000 to charitable organizations. I want to congratulate REHDA and Henry Butcher Penang for successfully organizing this event and for their generous contributions to the community.
I hereby officially declare open MAPEX CITY 2014.