GEORGE TOWN, Sept 19 — The government should not expand its home ownership campaign (HOC) outside of Malaysia to attract foreign property buyers, the president of an international real estate federation Michael Geh said.

Geh, who is a surveyor and president of Fiabci Malaysia, said it is not right to promote Malaysian homes to citizens of other countries to entice them to invest here.

“HOC should not be promoted elsewhere because every country has patriotic expectations of its citizens to remain in their home country so bringing such a campaign to their country to attract them to make a home in Malaysia may not seem right,” he said in an interview with Malay Mail recently.

He was responding to recent news that the Local Government and Housing Ministry is considering expanding the HOC to other countries such as Hong Kong to clear up the luxurious property glut in Malaysia.


However, he expressed support for the idea of attracting foreigners to buy up the overhang properties in Malaysia.

He said the main criteria for foreign property buyers is to make sure they intend to live in the properties they buy, instead of speculating.

Geh suggested linking property purchase with the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme as these buyers would be interested in living in the properties they bought.


“It would be a better way of promoting the overhang properties in the country by linking it with the MM2H programme,” he said.

He said the ministry can also consider awarding more points to MM2H applicants who bought properties here.

“If the government wants to make it one of the MM2H requirements, it is also acceptable to persuade foreigners to buy Malaysian properties,” he said.

He opposed calls by the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) that the government cancel the MM2H programme entirely.

Geh said those who come to live in Malaysia under the MM2H programmes are bringing higher spending power to the country.

“They come here, live here and spend here so they are also helping the country’s economy as they are buying and generating income for local businesses,” he said.

He said the government need only keep to its stringent checks on all MM2H applicants to make sure they filter out criminals so that others will not take advantage of the programme.

The MM2H programme is a renewable 10-year multiple-entry visa initiative introduced by the Malaysian government for applicants from around the world.

It was originally introduced under the Tourism and Culture Ministry and is now under the Home Affairs Ministry’s jurisdiction.

The government introduced the HOC this year to address property overhang issue in the country and to stimulate the housing sector.

The campaign was initially between January and June and has been extended until the end of the year but property overhang in the country remains high.

According to the National Property Information Centre (NAPIC), there are a total of 32,936 units of residential properties valued at RM19.96 billion that were unsold in the country.