Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
at REHDA Penang’s Chinese New Year Gathering 2019
20 February 2019
YB Dato’ Ir. Ahmad Zakiyuddin bin Abdul Rahman
Deputy Chief Minister I
YB Prof. Dr. Ramasamy a/l Palanisamy
Deputy Chief Minister II
Members of the State Executive Council
YBhg Dato’ Toh Chin Leong, Chairman, REHDA Penang
YBhg Dato’ Jerry Chan, Immediate Past Chairman REHDA Penang
YBhg Dato’ David Fong, Organising Chairman, REHDA CNY Gathering 2019
Members of the press
Ladies and gentlemen
Good evening to all.
Though Chap Goh Mei was already celebrated yesterday, this evening’s celebration of ushering in the Lunar New Year is an excellent reason for members of the industry to come together and I would like to thank Dato’ Toh Chin Leong, Chairman of REHDA Penang and committee members of REHDA Penang for extending an invitation for me to be part of this gathering.
After a barking year of the Dog which saw its share of triumphs and tribulations, the year of the Boar is considered auspicious by the Chinese community. Considering the many positive aspects of the boar which are said to attract success in all spheres of life, many are hopeful that this may just be the boost to tide over the current and challenging economic climate, as well as concerns of a softening property market.
Whether or not the Boar brings us good tidings, I am confident that Penangites and Penang developers in particular are well equipped to face future challenges. Although we are one of the smallest states in Malaysia, Penang’s main strength lies in her valuable human talent. We are constantly working to promote, nurture and retain these talents as a competitive asset in the state’s growth. One such effort is the State’s scholarship programme known as Penang Future Foundation, which provides outstanding Malaysians with opportunities to pursue their undergraduate degrees in selected fields in Malaysia. This programme thrives on contributions from public, and I hope the many developers here tonight will be persuaded to include this scholarship programme as part of their corporate social responsibility exercise. Penang is also synonymous with being an attractive location of choice for investors, destination of choice for tourists and certainly a desirable location of choice for those who desire to make Penang their home. In 2017, Penang recorded the largest FDI inflow of MIDA-approved manufacturing FDI among states in Malaysia, valued at RM8.5 billion. Penang is also the second top recipient of total manufacturing investment among states valued at RM10.8 billon. Domestic investment also grew steadily by 92% year-on-year to reach RM2.3 billion in 2017. I am sure it is our collective hope that year 2019 will bring in greater monetary feats for the state.
Nevertheless, an issue that is closer to heart for developers in Penang is the large property overhang. Several measures have been introduced by the Malaysian Federal Government as well as the Penang State Government to address this concern. The Minister of Finance and REHDA Malaysia had recently announced a six month Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) from 1st January 2019 to 30th June 2019 with the twin objectives of encouraging home ownership and well as reducing the large property overhang. Various incentives were introduced including stamp duty exemptions on instruments of transfer for residential units priced between RM300,001 to RM1 million. For residential units sold above RM1 million to RM2.5 million, stamp duty exemption applies to the first RM1 million while the rest will be charged at 3% during the six month period. Stamp duty on loan agreements up to RM2.5 million would also be exempted. At the same time, the Penang State Government had also given a waiver of the 3% levy on foreign purchasers for a limited period of one month starting from February 2019. Developers are similarly making the effort by offering a variety of incentives to buyers, which includes a minimum 10% discount on all residential properties and freebies.
Ongoing issues surrounding housing affordability and high compliance costs involved are matters to be addressed and reviewed but let us not forget that the working relationship enjoyed between the Penang State Government and REHDA continues in order to achieve ‘win-win’ solutions. While REHDA Penang has been playing an effective role in representing and protecting the interests of the state’s developers, ultimately we need to work hand-in-hand to deliver housing opportunities that would benefit all levels of society.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Coming back to this evening’s merriment, Chinese New Year gatherings as well as open houses for other celebrations such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Christmas and Deepavali continue to feature as an integral part of our uniquely Malaysian culture. Such occasions provide the opportunity for all communities in Malaysia, more so in Penang, to celebrate our beautiful diversity and to come together as one irrespective of our cultural backgrounds and religions.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone here, Gong Xi Fa Cai, Xin Nian Kuai Le, Wan Shi Ru Yi and may the new year of the Golden Boar bring good fortune, peace and strength to all.