Budget Commentary 2017

Date: 2 November 2016
Company Name: Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (REHDA) Institute

After Malaysia’s Budget 2017 was tabled by Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak on 21 October 2016, the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (REHDA) Institute organised the Budget Commentary 2017 event for experts and professionals to share their views on how Budget 2017 impacts on the real estate, construction and property sector.

Speakers and panellists included influential industry experts such as Datuk Seri FD Iskandar, President of REHDA Malaysia; Datuk Ng Seing Liong JP, REHDA GST Taskforce Chairman; Dato Ir. Soam Heng Choon, Deputy President of REHDA Malaysia; Datuk D.P. Naban, Senior Partner of Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill (LHAG); Goh Ka Im, Partner of Shearn Delamore & Co.; Yeoh Cheng Guan, Partner of Ernst & Young Tax Consultants; Dr Yeah Kim Leng, Professor of Economics of Sunway Business School; and Dr Suraya Ismail, Khazanah Research Institute.

One of the main features of the event was a panel discussion on Budget 2017: Impact on Affordable Homeownership and First Home Buyers, which was moderated by Datuk Seri FD Iskandar, President of REHDA Malaysia, with panellists that included Dato’ Wan Hashimi Albakri W.A.A Jaffri, Senior REHDA Representative; Dr. Suraya Ismail, Director of Research, Khazanah Research Institute; Dr Lim Kim Hwa, CEO of Penang Institute; and Erick Kho Ying Tian, President of Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA).

In this panel discussion, it was mentioned that to increase the property purchasing power of Malaysians, industries have to work together to create a high-wage society. The panel agreed with the government’s call for developers to allocate at least 30 percent of their development portfolio for affordable housing, since they observed that many homebuyers would prefer affordable houses priced below RM300,000.

Dato’ Jeffrey Ng Tiong Lip, Chairman of REHDA Institute, also urged the government to address the definition of “affordable home prices” in the market in a more uniform way. He pointed that there were different definitions of “affordable homes”: the government has a threshold of RM300,000, some professional associations use RM400,000, while REHDA sets it at RM500,000. He explained that among the factors for this phenomenon are the location and land cost for the project. Different locations have different levels of affordability due to different costs, hence the differences in thresholds, and it would not be simple to come up with a uniform number.

Bankers, lawyers, accountants, tax consultants, finance managers, general managers, finance directors and CEOs from related sectors, real estate agents and senior government representatives attended this one-day event to discuss about the incentives given under Budget 2017.