By Chris Maskilone
KOTA KINABALU: The establishment of a State Planning Council (SPC) to replace the Central Board as well as the delegation of power to approve Development Plan (DP) to the respective Local Authorities will heighten transparency and reduce red tape.
Welcoming the initiative under the State 2020 Budget, Sabah Housing and Real Estate Development Association (Shareda) President Datuk Chew Sang Hai said it was in consonance with the association’s aspiration to see the efficacy of DP approval process.
In a statement here, Chew said the government’s new and streamlined approach of “self-compliance” by developers and consultants was also refreshing.
He said developers welcomed the move that specifies duration and time lapse for different stages of the approval process, such as the issuance of Conditional Approval Letter within 24 hours, and further correspondences with State and Federal technical Departments within three to six months on matters related to technical compliances and requirements.
“This allows the developers to plan and manage its cash flow and resource as well as materials allocation more effectively and efficiently,” he said, adding that Shareda’s view on the roles of Central Board or SPC should be solely on matters related to rezoning and to formulate a high-level state physical development planning policy.
“Thus, Shareda is eager to be one of the stakeholders in threshing out or refining the detail of the establishment of the OSC. We praised the government’s proactive effort for introducing transformative and improved initiatives in this State Budget 2020,” he said.
On the second initiative introduced by the government to lower the threshold level of residential home ownership by foreigner from RM1 million to only RM750,000 on residential properties with Certificate of Occupancy (OC) and remained unsold for more than nine months, he said would address “overhang” properties as well as over-supplied of unsold high-valued properties in the State
However, Shareda would also like to highlight the challenges and obstacles in the international market faced by Sabah developers.
“It is definitely not a walk in the park. As we are well aware that Sabah or Kota Kinabalu per se is considered as a tier-two city.
“With a lower ranking compared to our counterparts such as Kuala Lumpur, Pulau Pinang and Johor Bahru, it would be much challenging to gain confidence and assurance of foreign purchasers to buy residential properties in Kota Kinabalu.
“This is because more affluent foreign buyers would invest on properties in cities that are of Tier-One status.
“Therefore, an additional and alternative solutions to the apparent challenge, is the Sabah My Second Home programme that incorporates friendlier immigration policies and investment criteria, enticing health and education services, friendlier state financing policies, which would be more attractive and effective to attract foreign buyers to Sabah and subsequently addresses issues such as “over-hang” and “over-supplied” of high-valued residential properties in the State,” he said.
Chew said Shareda expressed gratitude to Chief Minister and State Cabinet for addressing some important issues related to the state’s property and development industry through this transformative and improving Sabah 2020 Budget.-SabahNewsToday