Friday, September 08, 2006

Unsold Bumi Lots. Policy Failure Or Poor Estimation?

A huge number of unsold houses in Negeri Sembilan are Bumiputera lots with a value of more than RM150 million, according to the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia (Rehda), Negeri Sembilan branch. That's a helluva lot of money hanging around like Mat Lepak, doing nothing useful.

While the state government and Rehda agreed to a mechanism to solve the problem last February, the implementation has taken too much time. The implementation has taken too long, thus causing funds that can be utilised to generate the economy to be locked in unsold units, says its chairman Soam Heng Choon.

He said the reluctance of government officers to proceed with the agreed mechanism was mainly due to the unethical attitude of a few developers and the rest should not be penalised. "We welcome the state to take serious action against those who take advantage of the system," he added.

Be that as it may, the same situation more or less exists in most states. Isn't it high time that the policy of compulsorily reserving a percentage of lots for bumis be reviewed? Keep in mind that these lucky Bumi chaps are getting a discount on houses whether they be poor and needy or multi-millionaires thoroughly undeserving of this special privilege. Why should wealthy Malays be given discounts? What rationale can there possibly be for such an anomaly other than government unwillingness to review a popular vote-winning measure?

It is obvious that the average Malay does not want to pay good cash for buying a house which he feels he does not need in the long run. There is always the kampung to go back to in the end. Malay urban dwellers who are government servants have to think of transfers. Those working in factories and other low paying jobs simply can't afford it and no matter what the discount, are not going to buy from the bumi quota. They have enough financial problems as it is. The ultra-rich Melayu wouldn't want to live anywhere even remotely close to their poorer brethren and would look for exclusive locales. Given this scenario how do we expect the bumi quota to be filled?

So the government has to be realistic in its estimate of the number of bona fide bumi buyers. It has also to accept that the policy of ensuring a certain number of houses in every nook and corner of the country is Malay-owned has failed miserably. The intentions of the policy makers may be genuine and well meant, but the realities on the ground tell a different story. So sell those damned houses to the others and spare the developers and the ones who badly need houses any more hassle. I'm reminded of the story of a dog which did not want to drink water from a pool and yet barked so furiously thus successfully preventing the horses which were nearby from quenching their thirst.

3 Comments:

Blogger perlisan said...

The Malaysian, what you said is quite true. My neighbour are Malays and some of them bought the non-bumi lots. When I ask them, they said all the bumi-lots were sold. So they have to buy these non-bumi lots.

There are so many unsold bumi-lots in other area but why they don't buy there? See, this is the market force of supply & demand. The government should "set free" these unsold bumi-lots.

9:23 AM GMT+8  
Blogger The Malaysian. said...

perlisan, agreed that market forces should be the determining factor. In any case there is only so much that quotas and compulsory reservations can do if the target group is not interested.

11:39 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous mullah kali said...

It is a good idea to give special discount. That way Malays can buy houses not only Chinese. The problem is if it cannot be sold, dont be tamak and hold on. Give to other races. that is win win!

3:01 PM GMT+8  

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