Moratorium suggested for land purchases in Pangkor Island

By FARA AISYAH / Pic By pangkorlautresort.com

THE Perak state government should put a moratorium for land purchases in Pangkor Island to avoid speculative buyers.

The island — which will get its duty-free status in Jan 1, 2020 — is expected to see more new developments coming in the near future.

Knight Frank Malaysia Sdn Bhd MD Sarkunan Subramaniam said “landbankers” are looking to purchase land in Pangkor and its surrounding areas.

“It is given that as more developments go in the island, the land values will go up. I suggest the state government to put some kind of moratorium on land purchases to avoid land hoggers, so that the price will not jump as high as what happened in Medini Iskandar Malaysia.

“Put restrictions on the land purchases to discourage speculators. For example, if the land is not developed within some period of time, the buyers will be penalised,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.

He added that Pangkor is currently an underdeveloped island and there is so much to improve in the area to attract tourists, particularly the infrastructure.

“There is no point of making it a duty-free zone if there are no tourists coming,” Sarkunan said.

CBRE-WTW (CBRE Group Inc and CH Williams Talhar & Wong Sdn Bhd) MD Foo Gee Jen concurred and said the infrastructure in Pangkor is limited. “The roads in Pangkor are quite limited and not the entire land is accessible. Ferries are mainly used to transport passengers and cars are quite limited.”

Foo said the duty-free status will definitely boost tourism there and benefit the hospitality and marine-based products businesses.

“It will have a small impact on the real estate market as Pangkor has a small population. But buyers might already be looking into buying homes in Lumut and Sitiawan,” he added.

One company that has a presence nearby is YNH Property Bhd — which has land in Lumut and surrounding areas like Manjung and Sitiawan, according to its annual report.

The company’s stock price has more than doubled in the past four months from about RM1.20 in early April to RM2.67 at market close last Friday.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced in the Budget 2019 tabling last year that Pangkor will be made a duty-free island.

Lim said the government is committed to making Pangkor “a duty-free island to realise the true potential of the island”.

The Pangkor Airport is also expected to be reopened on Oct 1, 2019, to boost tourism and business in the island.

Bernama reported State Tourism, Arts and Culture Committee chairman Tan Kar Hing as saying that airline company SKS Airways Sdn Bhd is expected to begin its flights to the island from Subang Airport.

Tan said the conditions at the airport would be looked at again to ensure public safety and comfort at the airport with its reopening.

“In the next four months, we will be looking out for any inadequacies including parking space for vehicles in the area.

“From discussions with the airline company, we note it will be using the Twin Otter aircraft model which can accommodate 19 passengers and it will operate daily return flights,” he said.