Chinese investment in Johor was part of a global trend, Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin said today in further rebuttal to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s claim that an influx of Chinese nationals in the state was imminent.
The Johor mentri besar said the former prime minister should understand the importance of foreign investment given that the latter had flown the world over during his time in power to persuade countries and nations to pump funds into Malaysia.
Khaled added that China has become an economic powerhouse with a large middle class that has a strong appetite for property all over the globe.
“This is a global phenomenon and it behoves all parties, particularly the private sector, to attract investment from China, and specifically to Johor. More so when Johor is just next to Singapore,” he said in a statement.
“But it is wildly inaccurate to state that property in China is only for the Chinese. What more when developers in Johor do not only target Chinese as their prospects.”
This was the second time Khaled has addressed Dr Mahathir’s claim that between 700,000 and 1.5 million Chinese nationals will enter Johor and allegedly be made citizens.
The Johor mentri besar previously categorised the claims as baseless and illogical, and today provided data to further refute Dr Mahathir.
The Land and Mines Office only has on record 29,218 units that were registered as belonging to foreigners or just 2 per cent of all property in the state, Khaled said.
“If we assume that four people occupy each unit listed in the National Property Information Centre, there would still be just 116,872 foreigners in those homes,” he said when pointing out the gap to the lower end of Dr Mahathir’s claim.
He also accuse Dr Mahathir of hypocrisy for giving so much credence to foreign media outlets such as Bloomberg that the latter cited in a blog entry containing the claims, pointing out that the former prime minister had regularly dismissed these during his time in power.
Khaled said that even if it were true that Chinese nationals were considering moving to Johor, this was consistent with the government’s Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme to encourage foreigners to relocate here.
More pointedly, he reminded the former prime minister that the MM2H was introduced during the latter’s time in power.
“So, what is happening in Johor is just the manifestation of this policy. We want to make Johor Baru a residential destination with modern features for a global community.
“Not a destination to gain citizenship or voting rights!”
Dr Mahathir previously claimed that upwards of 700,000 Chinese nationals would be given Malaysian identity cards.
He based his claim on a Bloomberg report on the local property sector’s concern with the scale of the US$100 billion Chinese-built Forest City in the state.
Source : The Malay Mail Online