Change property policy to attract buyers, urges Sunway Group founder Jeffrey Cheah

Cheah said difficulties in securing financing also cause many buyers to shy away. — Reuters pic
Cheah said difficulties in securing financing also cause many buyers to shy away. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 — In a bid to attract more property buyers, especially foreigners, certain changes in policy are needed, says Sunway Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah.

Cheah said there is an overbuild situation in the country’s property market.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a glut, but the policy of the government is important.

“If I were to be in charge, I would have changed certain policy, to make it more attractive especially to get foreigners to come,” he said in an interview on CNBC’s Managing Asia programme hosted by Christine Tan.

Cheah said changes in policy will make Malaysia competitive with Singapore.

“Singapore is very nice. You know you have good leadership, you have good government, you have good law, but it’s a tiny island and it’s too expensive.

“Over here, we have everything, but if we organise ourselves well, there will be a lot of multinationals,” he elaborated.

Cheah said difficulties in securing financing also cause many buyers to shy away.

“But bankers are bankers, you know, when it’s good times, they give you all the money. During bad times, they will be very, very difficult.

“It’s the financing, the end financing that may cause the purchaser to walk away,” he added.

On Sunway Group’s expansion, he said with the uncertainties surrounding Brexit, now is a good time to enter the UK market.

“The UK has been a world financial centre for a long time. So we are still looking.

“We have already bought, through a fund that we have a big say (in), 97 properties, where the tenants are all from the British government. It gives a reasonable return,” he said.

Sunway Group also intends to buy three buildings in Bristol and Sheffield for student accommodation.

“Student accommodation is the way to go. You just imagine, (US President) Donald Trump doesn’t like the Chinese in the US. They have about 500,000 of these students.

“If they are not welcomed, they will go elsewhere. Where else do they go? It’s the UK.

“In terms of education, the UK gives some of the best education,” he added.

In addition, he said he believes China will the biggest market for Sunway Group.

“During my days, my father said, if you don’t go to English school, you will not get a job. So no Chinese school, so I went to an English school, but now I feel (at) a loss with the Chinese.

“If I (had) spent six years in a Chinese school, today my investment in China would be much, much bigger because I went there in the 1990s Handicapped, especially if you don’t understand the language,” he said. — Bernama

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