Foreigners banned from buying flats in Malay city
Foreigners will be barred from buying properties in a planned $100-billion Malaysian city, the country’s leader said on Monday, after the huge development aimed at mainland Chinese buyers sparked widespread criticism.
Forest City, an “eco-city” of high rises and waterfront villas, will sit on four man-made islands in Malaysia’s southern state of Johor, just an hour from Singapore.
The development, designed to house 700,000 people, is being built by Hong Kong-listed real estate giant Country Garden and a firm partly owned by Johor’s sultan. Its due to be completed by 2035.
The city was developed with wealthy mainland Chinese buyers in mind. But Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has already axed multi-billion dollar deals struck with Beijing by Malaysia’s former government, said foreigners would not be allowed to buy properties in the project.
“One thing is certain, that city that is going to be built cannot be sold to foreigners,” Mahathir said. “We are not going to give visas for people to come and live here.
“Our objection is because it was built for foreigners, not built for Malaysians. Most Malaysians are unable to buy those flats.” Many Malaysians had been unhappy with the project as it was aimed at foreign buyers, and there were also concerns that it could damage the environment.