Malays too poor to own property in Pakatan-held Penang, Selangor, minister says

‘Expensive’ home prices have become a perennial problem in Malaysia, with many Malaysians across race saying that property is virtually unaffordable to most wage earners. ― Picture by K.E. Ooi
‘Expensive’ home prices have become a perennial problem in Malaysia, with many Malaysians across race saying that property is virtually unaffordable to most wage earners. ― Picture by K.E. Ooi

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — Malay property ownership in Penang and Selangor is still seen to be low largely because the bottom 40 per cent of the community are too impoverished, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said has said.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department also said Bumiputera equity in the corporate sector in 2011 was only 23.5 per cent, or RM211.5 billion, short of the 30 per cent target.

“On the issue of Malay honour that is said to be challenged, there are indeed concerns about the affordability of the Malays to own land and houses,” Azalina said in a written parliamentary reply to Permatang Pauh MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail yesterday.

“These concerns have a basis, as we see examples in Penang and Selangor where residential land and housing projects sold by developers are too expensive and Malays cannot afford to buy them, especially those who come from the low-income group (the B40 group),” the minister added, referring to the bottom 40 per cent of wage-earners.

“This indirectly leads to a drop in Malay ownership of property assets,” she added.

The governments of both Penang and Selangor have led by DAP and PKR respectively since Election 2008.

The two parties were part of the federal opposition alliance known as Pakatan Rakyat, which disintegrated following disagreements with the third partner PAS; however, a new political pact known as Pakatan Harapan has since formed, with the inclusion of a PAS splinter party, Parti Amanah Negara.

The Umno minister also claimed that there were only few Malays holding professional and decision-making posts in the private sector, even though the Bumiputera comprise the majority in the 1.6 million-strong civil service.

“Expensive” home prices have become a perennial problem in Malaysia, with many Malaysians across race saying that property is virtually unaffordable to most wage earners, creating the risk that the country could face a “homeless generation”.

High and rising property value is also compounded by stricter lending rules introduced by Bank Negara Malaysia, which now considers the ability of borrowers to service all their debt when measuring their eligibility for additional financing.

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