Special housing committee to discuss Forest City status today

By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

The special committee formed by the Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) to evaluate the agreements and deals for Forest City’s residential units in Johor is expected to meet with officials from the Johor state government, Iskandar Regional Development Authority and project developer Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd today.

KPKT Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the meeting is expected to examine and iron out various issues, particularly on Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s call to disallow foreigners to purchase properties at Forest City.

“I am not sure if we can forbid the selling of residential units to foreigners at the moment as we currently do not have records on the basis of the project.

“The deal was made by the previous government and we would need the agreement signed by the state government and the developers to evaluate the project,” she said at the launch of The Zuraida Kamaruddin Women’s Empowerment Hub in Ara Damansara, Selangor, last Thursday.

Zuraida said that her ministry, along with representatives from the Finance Ministry and the Johor state government would also formulate a policy concerning foreign buyers, specifically for the Forest City development as well as other local property projects.

“We will evaluate the situation at Forest City and come out with a policy on foreign buyers as requested by the PM. We’d also be discussing the floor price for overseas buyers, which is now kept at RM1 million. “The ministry has been mulling over raising the floor price for years. This time around, we will get to it. It will certainly be raised, but we have not talked about the amount,” she said.

On Aug 27, Dr Mahathir announced that foreign buyers will no longer be allowed to purchase homes in the US$100 billion (RM410 billion) Forest City project in Johor and criticised the fact that the project was built without the intention of being sold to Malaysians.

He also said visas application for the future homeowners of the development will not be granted.

In 2017, Chinese nationals had already purchased 70% of the residential units in Forest City.

At present, Country Garden has developed only a fraction of the total area, mainly 20 sq km of reclaimed land.

Following the PM’s announcement, a committee led by Zuraida was formed with the task to review the deals pertaining to the sales of the units at the area.
Earlier, Zuraida said the project has no link with her minis- try or the National Physical Planning Council.

On another issue, Zuraida said the redevelopment of the Highland Tower site in Ampang will proceed as the search for the residential owners of the deserted units had ended in August.

“We have decided to proceed with redevelopment of the site as the deadline for the search of the remaining owners ended in August.

“Out of the 27 owners who were unidentified, three had come forward to participate in the agreement to move with the redevelopment of the project,” she said.

She added that the ministry had conducted several meetings with the unit owners and the developer, Regal Field Development Sdn Bhd, which were chaired by KPKT secretary general Datuk Mohammad Mantek.

In July, Zuraida said that 111 out of 138 owners have agreed to demolish the towers.

According to Mohammad, the towers can only be demolished with the agreement from all the unit owners.

On Dec 11, 1993, one of the three blocks at the Highland Towers condominium collapsed due to a major landslide and killed 48 people. Only two survived the tragedy.

The location has been deserted since, and is now a haunt for addicts and riff-raffs.

Zuraida had earlier proposed to revive the site into a recreational park after the proposal to build a housing development for the B40 (bottom 40%) group was said to be unfeasible.