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When developers market homes to foreigners…

Photograph: Choo Choy May/Malay Mail

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Patriotism, loyalty and nationhood will be wrecked if we continue to let the property market operate like this, writes JD Lovrenciear.

Now that some developers are said to be rushing to Hong Kong and China to entice citizens there to buy expensive homes in Malaysia, we have to ask some hard questions.

When a minister in charge of housing joins the bandwagon in this overseas promotion effort, we have reason to demand answers.

For many decades, property developers have had an edge over buyers.

Despite government policies requiring developers to provide a build a certain percentage of homes for the lower-income groups in their projects, these homes were often for namesake goodwill.

The media are guilty of not persistently exposing the housing industry – simply because there is huge advertising revenue that the media moguls don’t want to lose.

When the bottom 40% of households and the lower-middle income group cannot even dream of home that costs below RM150,000, we have developers exploiting the free market and enticing foreign buyers.

Have these developers and the minister ever thought about patriotism? Do they not know that housing has become a critical consideration now that our population has grown to over 30 million and land is getting scarcer owing to all kinds of mega property and agro-development.

Let us have the courage to face up to some truths. The property market in Malaysia is a gaming business. There is so much money to be made by everyone involved in this chain.

But many among the working class, who only have meagre wages, find that buying a home is an unreachable dream.

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The government, both past and present, have failed to tackle this crisis.

Developers can quite easily buy land and convert it to property developments.

Meanwhile, the government appears to continue to be at the beck and call of rich businessmen – from realty agents to conveyancing lawyers, bankers, insurance companies and raw material suppliers.

Have we ever thought about the future of the working class, who are the real backbone of nationhood?

Have we thought about the duty of government to ensure that every family has a roof over their heads to ensure peace and harmony in our multi-ethnic nation?

Must we build multi-million ringgit housing and invite foreigners to buy them just to keep developers laughing all the way to the bank?

Look at all the low and medium-cost homes that millions of Malaysians live in. Contrast them with the grand property development projects flooding the nation.

It is time for a serious national debate and soul-searching before this country is sold away in the decades ahead.

Patriotism, loyalty and nationhood will be wrecked if we continue to let the property market operate like this.

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