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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Builders hail open tender

PETALING JAYA: Property developers hail the plan to invite open tenders for the development of government land in strategic locations as an excellent initiative to ensure better planned developments that will optimise the potential value of the land.

Announcing the economic stabilisation plan yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said to maximise the returns of the Government’s undeveloped landbank, it would adopt an open tender system to invite the private sector and government-linked companies to develop the land.

The Government will determine the criteria and scope of the plans that will be spelt out clearly in the terms of offer.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) president Datuk Ng Seing Liong said the system would ensure greater participation from industry players with the expertise to add value to the land.

“If the open tender system is transparent and above board, it will benefit all Malaysians and the country through more well-planned developments and greater earnings to the Government for development purposes,” Ng said.

IJM Land Bhd managing director Datuk Soam Heng Choon said some of the government land, including the more than 400ha of Rubber Research Institute land in Sungei Buloh and former government quarters in Jalan Cochrane and Jalan Ampang Hilir, were prime assets.

“With their strategic locations, these landbank have very high development value potential and will attract much interest from industry players to submit their proposals for development and the best will be selected,” he said.

SP Setia Bhd group managing director Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin expressed delight that the system would help optimise the land value for the benefit of the Government and the people.

“In Hong Kong and Singapore, all the government land are up for open tenders and the practice has ensured developments were undertaken in a well-planned and orderly manner.

“Any government initiative that is done in a fair and transparent manner will help to instil stronger confidence and participation among industry players,” Liew said.

Meanwhile, developers can also look forward to more foreign participation in the commercial property sector as foreigners buying commercial property priced above RM500,000 are now exempted from Foreign Investment Committee approval.

International Real Estate Federation Malaysia president Datuk Richard Fong said the latest measure would further liberalise the country’s property sector and raise its attractiveness as a property investment hub.

“In the past, developers did not even want to attempt to market commercial property to foreigners as these efforts had been futile due to the strict restrictions imposed. There are many interested investors from the Middle East, Japan, South Korea and Singapore looking for quality commercial property,” Fong said.

Rehda’s Ng urged state governments to comply with the directive to relax rulings on foreign purchases to ensure the success of the measure as the states were in charge of issuance of property titles.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)

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