PETALING JAYA: Following the recent StarProperty special pullout published on Oct 6, several property developers have put forward their Budget 2023 wish list. Property developer UEM Sunrise Bhd's wish list for Budget 2024 which will be tabled in Parliament on Oct 13 is as follows:
An impetus for further growth
Introduce a new stimulus package that would spur the housing market, mirroring the Home Ownership Campaign. This would provide Malaysians the opportunity to own their dream homes while reducing the financial burdens currently experienced by homebuyers.
Ceiling prices for raw materials
Help industry players, and work together towards providing affordable homes to the nation by containing the cost to deliver these homes, by introducing ceiling prices of raw materials such as cement, concrete, steel and fuel and tax subsidies for imported construction materials. Prices of raw materials have soared and this have not only been eating into profit margins but also made certain projects unfeasible at this juncture.
Reduce compliance cost
"In a bid to lower the overall cost, we appeal to the government to reduce compliance costs imposed on property developers, such as contribution to the Improvement Service Fund (ISF), utility costs, main infrastructure cost, land premium fees (land conversion), among others.
"We seek for the government to standardise and expedite processes, authority approvals and timelines. This will increase the overall efficiency and, thus enable developers to hand over projects in a timely manner," said UEM Sunrise chief executive officer Sufian Abdullah.
Reconsideration of MM2H
The reconsideration of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme rules and regulations is very much welcomed (with its outcome review expected to be announced in Aug 2023).
"We have yet to see what the revised criteria will be; however, we urge the government to come together in collaboration with stakeholders to agree on requirements that are more realistic and attainable. A higher number of foreigners qualifying for the programme would help reduce the national property overhang and would lead to other positive spillover effects on the economy, at a macro level," said Sufian.
Allocation for Johor
Zooming into Johor, UEM Sunrise would like to particularly request a budget allocation, special policies and fiscal incentives to spur the development of the Iskandar Malaysia region. There is a vastly untapped potential to be unlocked in the region, from the potential synergy with Singapore, specifically on the Second Link side where there is still a lot of greenfield land available for strategic developments.
"One of our key requests is for the government to relook into the EPU approval requirements for the direct acquisition of properties valued at RM20mil and above, and for the sale of agricultural land exceeding 100 acres. We appeal for these to be reconsidered, for the threshold value of RM20mil to be increased to an appropriate amount, and for the acreage of agricultural land to be appropriately increased as well," said Sufian.
"These restrictions are negatively affecting government-linked developers, further impeding the ability to execute development plans efficiently, causing delays and reducing the level of competitiveness of (among GLC developers) in the market. If special economic corridors such as Iskandar Malaysia are exempted from the guideline, there will be a higher level of investment, thus expediting their growth and development, and enhancing the nation’s economy," he said.
Conducive ecosystem for FDIs
To create a more efficient, conducive ecosystem that is favourable for foreign direct investments (FDIs), there should be a cohesive investment guideline and execution strategy with a clear goal or purpose, to facilitate FDIs for example to create a semi- to high-skilled population.
This investment guideline should be enforced at federal, state and regional economic corridor levels. Anchoring efforts on factors that impact FDIs include the workforce and infrastructure.
There should also be more supportive and liberal policies that create a steady talent development pipeline, and an education system with areas of focus, like Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) that are related to the industries.
Creation of free trade zones
Another suggestion is to implement free trade/special zones/regulatory systems that allow free movement of certain goods and workforce in a special area such as at Gerbang Nusajaya via the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link. Infrastructure, on the other hand, should be scaled up and improved based on predetermined sectors of focus.
A key obstacle is the ongoing labour shortage, which was exacerbated as the industry faced delays and challenges in getting workers back post-pandemic. Supply chain disruptions have also led to a shortage of materials, causing a rise in materials cost and inflation. This has impacted project delivery timelines and squeezed profit margins.
Meanwhile, the ongoing debate and increase of interest rates and OPR, which has hiked since May 2022, has inevitably impacted the property loan application amount.
"We expect the property market performance to grow in line with the economic growth projected for FY2023. Accommodative policies, continuous government support, execution of planned measures outlined in the revised Budget 2023 (and the forthcoming year), implementation strategies and initiatives under the 12th Malaysia Plan 2021-2025, are expected to support the property sector. We remain focused on strengthening our competitive advantages and capitalising on opportunities in all market segments we have a presence," said Sufian.