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Groups laud move to reduce household debt

November 19th, 2011 3 comments

KUALA LUMPUR: Banks and related industries backed the move by Bank Negara in pushing for responsible financing to enhance consumer protection and reduce household debt.

“Banks will continue to engage closely with their customers by providing advice to ensure debt commitments are within their repayment capacities,” said Association of Banks Malaysia executive director Chuah Mei Lin.

She added that the new guidelines reflected the existing approach taken by its member banks.

The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations said the policy was a step in the right direction towards reducing household debt, but consumers needed to be more responsible in managing their finances.

“Too many young people are getting themselves deep in debt,” said its chief executive officer Datuk Paul Selvaraj.

He added that they usually accumulated the debts between the ages of 20 and 30.

National House Buyers Association secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said banks must evaluate an applicant’s true income more stringently before granting loans.

“Banks also should not be allowed to charge excessive fees for early termination,” said Chang.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Yam said he believed there would not be any untoward incidents with the new guidelines.

He said this was because people, especially those who took loans to buy property, knew how to self-regulate.

“This is based on the low percentage of non-performing loans,” said Yam.

He added that those possibly in danger of falling into debt were young people without family support.

Malaysian Automotive Association president Datuk Aishah Ahmad welcomed the guidelines but was concerned that if too stringent, the move would affect car sales.

“Checking on affordability is the right thing to do as there is still a lot vehicle repossession taking place because consumers purchase beyond their means,” she said.



SOURCE: The Star

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Bill to penalise errant builders tabled

November 18th, 2011 No comments

KUALA LUMPUR: A Bill to make it a criminal offence for developers who fail to complete their projects has been tabled in Parliament for first reading.

Under Clause 9 of the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) (Amendment) Bill, errant housing developers can be fined up to RM500,000, jailed up to three years or both.

The Bill was introduced by Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung here yesterday.

Among others, it is a crime if a developer “abandons or causes to be abandoned a housing development”.

They are deemed to have abandoned projects if they refuse to carry out, delay, suspend or cease work continuously for six months or beyond a period stipulated under the Sales and Purchase Agreement.

The Bill also introduces harsher penalties against errant developers such as increasing the fines from RM20,000 to RM50,000.

They will be entitled to terminate the Sales and Purchase Agreement if the housing project is abandoned, and the developer is required to refund any money paid within 30 days.

Developers who fail to comply with this will face a fine of up to RM250,000 and a penalty of RM5,000 for every day during which the offence continues.

The Bill will also insert Clause 3 into the Act the deposit to obtain a housing development licence will be increased from RM200,000 to 3% of the project’s estimated cost.

This is to ensure that only developers who have sufficient financial ability will be allowed to begin building houses.

Source: The Star

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CM: No more land reclamation in Gurney Drive

November 18th, 2011 No comments

GEORGE TOWN: The state government will not allow any new land reclamation along Gurney Drive as part of its deal with developers to construct infrastructure projects.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said any land swap would only involve the existing land reclamation rights granted to Eastern & Oriental Bhd by the previous administration.

He said people should not “jump up and down” as the state was bound by the deal struck before Pakatan came into power.

“I told the reporters in Kuala Lumpur that 299ha of reclaimed land in Sri Tanjung Pinang would be involved in the infrastructure projects.

“Some of them have never been to Penang and they didn’t know where that was so I said it’s near Gurney Drive.

“Now I’m a victim of false information because they reported that the reclaimed land would involve Gurney Drive — I never said that,” he told a press conference yesterday.

He said no monetary payment or funding would be given by the state for the construction of three by-pass highways and a sea tunnel linking the island to the mainland.

“Costs incurred may be recovered through land swap, toll or any other form. The other three projects would involve land swapping. I’m trying to get as much as possible for Penang,” he said.

Source: The Star

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Muhyiddin sees no logic for Penang tunnel

November 18th, 2011 16 comments

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has questioned the logic behind the proposed third link between Penang island and the mainland, warning it may end up being a waste of funds.

“It is up to the Penang Government to decide on this project. But I must caution them against wastage.

“Such a mega-project would require a lot of money. What is the need for a tunnel, I don’t know.”

Muhyiddin said there was no evidence the second Penang bridge, which is halfway towards completion, would be inadequate to handle the increasing traffic between the island and the mainland.

“The second bridge is being built with the future in mind. Allow this project to be completed first. then look at the situation over time.

“If it solves the problem, why would they (the state government) need to spend so much?” he asked, responding to the announcement by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on the proposed third link that would be in the form of an undersea tunnel.

Source: The Star

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Penang rolls out RM8b infra jobs

November 15th, 2011 No comments

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 15): The Penang government has proposed to undertake four road infrastructure projects worth up to a combined RM8 billion to reduce traffic congestion in the state. The move is deemed crucial to manage transportation needs of an expanding population there amid higher tourist arrivals, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said here on Monday at a media briefing.

According to the pre-qualification exercise document given out during the briefing, the Penang government plans to build a 6.5km undersea tunnel connecting Butterworth on the mainland and Gurney Drive, from which a 4.2km bypass would be constructed linking it to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.

The plan will also see the construction of a 4.6km bypass from Bandar Baru Air Itam to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway, apart from a 12km paired road to the existing coastal road linking Tanjung Bungah and Teluk Bahang.

It is also the state government's intention to establish a light-rail-transit network along the proposed alignment, according to the document.

Lim said these projects represent a long-term plan for Penang as its existing road network would be insufficient to accommodate traffic volume in the near future. He said the proposed infrastructures would reduce the congestion along the tourism belt along Batu Ferringhi, besides residential areas such as Paya Terubong and the heritage sites within George Town.

Penang has a population of 1.52 million, still growing – the state is expected to house two million by 2020, according to Lim.

"This is our vision and we hope the Federal Government will participate," Lim said at the media briefing.

He did not specify the cost for each project, but only indicating that the total cost would range between RM5 billion and RM8 billion.

Lim said these public-private partnership projects would be undertaken via open tenders involving domestic and foreign construction companies. He said the state government would finance these projects via land swaps or toll collections.

Lim said the pre-qualification exercise for bidders would begin tomorrow and letter of awards would be issued to winners by September 2012 based on the best prices offered. He said the state may award all four projects to a single construction company or one project each to four winning bidders.

Construction work, which will take three years to complete, is anticipated to start in 2015 following feasibility studies.

The chief minister also indicated that while he is not in favour of elevated transportation structures which could adversely affect heritage buildings in the state; he was still "willing to consider other views" on such proposals.

The four proposed infrastructure projects coincide with the state government's plans to build more affordable homes in the state. Lim was quoted as saying over the weekend that the state authorities are setting aside RM500 milllion, from the sale of a piece of 41.5ha government-owned prime land along the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway, to finance the construction of affordable houses in the state.

Lim had indicated that 81ha in Batu Kawan had been identified for the affordable home initiative which includes about 15,000 residential units worth between RM72,000 and RM220,000 each.



SOURCE: The Edge Property

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