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Saturday, February 26, 2011

It’s a small, small world

It is interesting to observe how things are becoming increasingly fluid and inter-connected these days as the whole world turns into a big global village.

With the easy connectivity provided by the Internet and 24-hour cable television that broadcast news as they are happening, it is as if people are living next door to each other even if they are actually thousands of miles apart.

With Skype, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites, the global village has grown even smaller and there is no stopping the massive integration and coming together of people from all walks of life and from different parts of the world in pursuit of some common goals and interests.

Travelling has also been made easier and more economical with the advent of low-cost carriers.

The rapid globalisation and borderless world we are living in today offers immense opportunities for more changes and advancements to be made in all fronts of the social, economic and political spheres.

The rapid pace at which people are moving and sharing information has certainly heralded greater awareness of things that are happening around us.

And with whistleblower website WikiLeaks, there is definitely a growing demand for greater accountability and transparency in the way governments, business corporations and communities operate. Irrespective of which side one comes from, we are after all one big global community. The people may be separated by physical distance and other differences, but they actually share many similar traits and aspirations - the need to thrive in a good and safe environment.

The rapid globalisation and coming together of people is increasingly evident in the real estate sector. This can be seen in the rising number of cross-border real estate transactions.

It is not unusual to find people owning multiple homes in different cities around the world as they form the growing population of global citizens. But the threat of inflation is spooking many governments in Asia and they are now on red alert to prevent asset bubbles from boiling over within their borders. Who can blame them when there is much liquidity in the system while the second round of quantitative easing in the US is believed to be driving liquidity to the various asset markets and pushing prices upwards. The speed in which this “hot money” flow into and out of countries has the potential to create another economic carnage of immense proportions if left unchecked. Much asset value will be washed out when these money retreat from our shores.

As it is, just at the press of a button, big sums of monies are crossing borders almost every second. While genuine investors should be welcome as they create jobs and contribute to the country's economic growth, those who only want to hype up the value of their assets for their own selfish gains should be reined in.

Locally, inflationary pressures and the inflow of foreign capital have started to drive Malaysia's property prices upwards and there is growing worry that many middle income earners will not be able to buy their own property, especially in the more upmarket and prime areas. They may have to resort to renting instead.

To address this problem, the opening up of Government-owned land for redevelopment should pay more emphasis to more affordably priced homes to enable the less well-to-do to own properties.

The planned township development on the massive Rubber Research Institute land in Sungei Buloh offers a golden opportunity to kick off a well thought out public housing scheme for eligible Klang Valley folks. It can then be used as a workable model for the other states to follow.

After all, the middle and lower income group still make up more than 80% of the local population.

Deputy news editor Angie Ng is convinced there will be more intermigration of people around the world as dictated by Mother Nature and climate changes.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)

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