Friday, November 02, 2007

Totally, unequivocally and violently against bumiputra housing discounts

Recently, there were some murmurings about people being dissatisfied with bumi discounts and quotas in the housing industry. But as usual, the mainstream newspapers (except The Sun) did not carry the story and you'll never see it on TV nor hear it on the radio. Malaysiakini carried a letter to the editor.

I am totally, unequivocally and violently against bumiputra discounts for housing.

Why should (only) bumiputras get discounts?

1. The rich bumis don't need it, and they sure as hell don't deserve it.

But by virtue of this being a simplistic % formula applied on the gross price of a house, the rich bumis will get the biggest absolute ringgit discounts, simply because they buy more expensive houses AND more houses compared to poor bumis. IS THAT NOT A RIDICULOUS, UNFAIR and most UNEQUITABLE practice?!

2. The poor bumis need it, but why aren't poor non-bumis who also need it, getting the same benefit?

This is the main reason why a 'poverty eradication' program like the NEP that is based on race, and not actual poverty, is a FALLACY and a FRAUD. Isn't an expansion of the low-cost housing program available to all Malaysians a better and more equitable solution? Or maybe apply discounts to all houses below RM120,000 that can be enjoyed by all Malaysians, where each family unit can only buy one discounted house.

3. Social re-engineering. To encourage bumis and non-bumis to live together.

Well tell me, why aren't non-bumis getting quotas and discounts in predominantly bumi housing estates to fulfil this noble purpose? Don't noble intentions go both ways?

Like I said... totally, unequivocally and violently against bumiputra discounts for housing.

Housing quota questioned
Jacqueline Ann Surin

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 29, 2007): The imposition of a bumiputra housing quota is unconstitutional and is one of the property sector’s most pressing issues, Datuk Jeffrey Ng Tiong Lip said today.

Ng, the immediate past president of the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda), said Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, which allows for positive discrimination in favour of Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak, does not include housing at all.

"The positive discrimination (in Article 153) covers only the specific areas of employment in public service, education, training or special facilities given by the federal government, and business permits.

"Housing is implicitly excluded," he said at a "Property Rights under the Malaysian Constitution" panel discussion at the 14th Malaysian Law Conference.

Ng noted that the sub-clauses under Article 153 made it apparent that the positive discrimination enjoyed by bumiputras should not deprive any other persons in the same areas of enjoyment.

"The positive discrimination allowed in our constitution is not done at the expense of others and is not a zero-sum game," he added.

He said it was highly problematic from a constitutional perspective when bumiputra quotas are imposed on all housing developers by the state authorities.

"In my opinion, a state’s imposition of bumiputra quota in our housing industry, if it was made into law, can be challenged on the grounds of Articles 8 and 153 of the Malaysian Constitution," he said.

(Article 8 states that all persons are equal before the law).

Ng added that Article 4 also stipulates that the constitution is the supreme law of the land and any law passed which is inconsistent with it shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

He said that when the bumiputra housing quota policy was implemented in the 1980s, property developers had to reserved 30% of available units in a housing scheme for a limited period of six months for purchase by bumiputras at a discount of 5%.

"Surely, the understanding then was based on satisfying the government’s social agenda and after enduring the six months reserved period, such unsold bumiputra allocated units can be released back into the open market for resale at prevailing market prices.

"However, today’s guidelines imposed by various state governments and local authorities have changed drastically at the expense of housing developers," Ng said.

He cited how the bumiputra housing quota imposed by all the states now ranges between 30% and 70%, the discount imposed varies between 5% and 15%, and the reserved period of six months is extended without any definite period of release.

He also said some state governments have introduced heavy monetary penalties and compensations before release of unsold units is granted.

For example, Ng said, the Selangor government and Kuala Lumpur City Hall recently introduced a new system of levy where an amount equivalent to the discount given to bumiputra buyers must now be paid to the authorities in exchange for the early release of unsold bumiputra quota units.

"What is unsold after a fixed period must be rightfully returned to us without making further contributions. After all, such units are rightfully owned by us as provided for under Article 13," Ng said.

Article 13 states that no person shall be deprived of property except in accordance with the law, and no law shall provide for the compulsory acquisition or use of property without adequate compensation.

"There is absolutely no justification for imposing such levy or contribution and such guidelines must be reviewed in accordance to our constitution," he said.

Ng said Rehda continues to struggle to convince state governments and local authorities to streamline conditions for release of unsold bumiputra quota units via an automatic release mechanism which is time-based.

He noted that certain state governments have also taken to inserting and endorsing a condition for bumiputra reserved lots on land titles, and marking bumiputra lots on layout and pre-computation plans.

"The restriction endorsement on land title is permanent whereas under the marking method, plans will be unmarked and restriction lifted once release of unsold bumiputra reserve lots are approved.

"Endorsing land titles with such restrictions by state governments is tantamount to creating de facto Malay reserved land and without obtaining consent from the landowner," he explained.

Ng said many well-educated bumiputras avoided buying bumiputra reserved quota lots in urban areas, where land titles have been endorsed, because they are less marketable upon resale in the secondary market and the market value of property is generally lower due to its restriction.

He said the National Land Council and National Council for Local Government have a big role to play in streamlining government policies and existing legislation which have been inconsistently and inappropriately applied in the housing industry.

Sun2Surf: Updated: 09:27PM Mon, 29 Oct 2007
And from Mr Lim Teck Ghee (of 45% bumi equity achieved fame) in a letter to Malaysia Today and Malaysiakini.
Recently we have another reminder of how deviations to the intent of the New Economic Policy – even to the extent of contravening the provisions of the Malaysian Constitution - continue to be practiced and further expanded (see the Sun article, Housing Quota Questioned, 30 December 2007). This issue - in the form of the imposition of a bumiputra quota in housing – was raised in a paper by the past President of the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association which was delivered to the 14th Malaysian Law Conference. The paper shows the extent of deep entrenchment and pervasiveness of racially biased administrative regulations and other policy instruments in a vital sector of the economy – all in the name of restructuring and reducing inequality.

Such discriminatory practices run against economic logic and social justice. They increase the cost of doing business in housing for the developers and add unfairly to the housing price of non-Malay purchasers. They are also damaging to social cohesion. Few other issues arouse so much dissatisfaction with non-Malays than the knowledge that they have to pay more for a house purchase simply because of their ethnicity. Many Malays are in agreement with the view that this is a bad and unnecessary policy which encourages a hand out and subsidy mentality as well as rent seeking and other abusive practices. Malay friends, in fact, tell me that there are ashamed of this requirement, and that there is no good reason why the requirement of a Bumiputra housing quota and the accompanying discount to purchasers should be imposed, let alone continued.

The principle that purchasers of housing or any other public or private good or service should be treated in exactly the same way in how ethnicity impacts on pricing and access should be scrupulously observed by all parties in the country – especially the government. In no other country in the world is there an attempt to practice official price discrimination on the basis of ethnicity. The government will deserve the stigmatization and odium that is attached to this form of discrimination should it persist with it and other similar policies.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The people get the government they deserve but they voted for it and having got the government they deserve then deserve the policies and rules dished out by the government. Change your voting habits if you want change, otherwise shut the fuck up.

Outsider

sean-the-man said...

Oooo... strong words from a weak mind.

Firstly, did you really think I voted for the govt?

Secondly, do you know nothing about Malaysia's electoral system? One where 40% of the vote will only garner less than 10% of the seats in parliament. Where urban constituencies of tens of thousands vote only one MP, same as rural villages with less than a couple thousand voters? Where dead people can vote, and people who have never registered to vote apparently place votes in states they've never even visited, and where 8000 new postal voters can miraculously appear in opposition seats?

Thirdly, why should voting be our only way of expression? Going by your logic, plus the fact that voting is by definition a process of majority... minorities will never have a voice. Is that your aim?

Lastly, you shut the fuck up, muthafucker.

Anonymous said...

Those who ranting for this "bumi got discount" deserve to be punish with ISA. Why? So far, bumiputra does not ranting over the non-bumi disagreement with goverment to disolved/covert all SRJK(C especially) due to the introduction of integration school. We are talking about racial harmony here. If you(whoever related) don't like the malaysia. Go somewhere else. Rather than crying like poor baby, why don't join the opposition or pro-govt and fight for what you believe? Do it in the right way, nobody would not dare to touch you with the law. If you keep giving reason, if i do this, that that bla bla, rasuah, or watsoever, you are coward. Go out there and get a fair fight la. There's a lot more issues getting between bumi and non-bumi, but everyone could figure out what it is. Now, the blogger start moderate a comment? What a coward...I wish in a few years to come, there will be the new laws that will prevent a person spread race-hate around internet.

sean-the-man said...

Anonymous (err... who's the coward here?)

You said: "Those who ranting for this "bumi got discount" deserve to be punish with ISA. Why? So far, bumiputra does not ranting over the non-bumi disagreement with goverment to disolved/covert all SRJK(C especially) due to the introduction of integration school.

Well, firstly, I feel bumis don't have a case to object to SRJKs. Why? Because SRJKs don't use govt money or tax money. Most of them are privately funded to a large extent.

Secondly, what has vernacular education have to do with bumi housing discounts?

Do you mean because Chinese and Indians want to study Mandarin and Tamil, bumis should get cheap houses in return?

What the hell kind of logic is that? Are you insane?

Thirdly, opinions may be punished by ISA. But racial discrimination and outright thievery will be punished by god.

Anonymous said: If you(whoever related) don't like the malaysia. Go somewhere else.

Ahhh, yes.. the age-old UMNO cry of "tak suka, keluar".

Well, I'm a 4th generation Malaysian. If I have to leave, lets have all Malaysians with less than 4 generations documented domicile in Malaysia leave as well. I'd be interested to see how the population statistics turn out to be.

Anonymous said: Rather than crying like poor baby, why don't join the opposition or pro-govt and fight for what you believe? Do it in the right way, nobody would not dare to touch you with the law. If you keep giving reason, if i do this, that that bla bla, rasuah, or watsoever, you are coward. Go out there and get a fair fight la.

As long as (1) the police, army and civil service is 99% Malay, and (2) a kampung of 2000 voters gets to elect one MP and a city like Ipoh with 200,000 voters gets to elect only 2 MPs - THE FIGHT IS NOT FAIR.

From your arguments, and the fact that you think bumi housing discounts are fair, shows that you do not even comprehend the concept of fairness.

And why is that people like you think that politics is the only way to solve anything? By your logic, if all citizens want to make themselves heard, then all of them have to become political candidates... who'll be left to vote?

Anonymous said: There's a lot more issues getting between bumi and non-bumi, but everyone could figure out what it is. Now, the blogger start moderate a comment?

Tell me, did your comment get moderated, or did automatically get posted?

Anonymous said: I wish in a few years to come, there will be the new laws that will prevent a person spread race-hate around internet.

I wonder who is practicing race-hate more.

Those who highlight inequalities and discrimination in our society...

Or those who insist on having race-based benefits and perks, simply because of the accident of birth?

How the heck do you come to the conclusion that my opinion that bumi housing discounts are unfair - is race hate, but your comment that it's fair - is NOT race hate?

Lim Teck said...

Sean,

no contest lah; but let's hope the logic and sense from your comments get through

keep up the good work

sean-the-man said...

Here's an email that's being circulated and ended up in a friend's mailbox:

>>>>>>>>>>
I am going to relate actually what happen at a meeting Klang Valley housing developers had with Kuala Lumpur City Hall DBKL ) on July 31 on the matter of Bumi reserved lots.

All the developers who attended the meeting had already complied with the condition of publishing in the major newspapers the bumiputera units for sale and in addition we were told to book a space at a designated place for a further campaign to sell the bumi units.

The above exercise does not come cheap. Advertising space in the major papers and rental of space at a major shopping complex can cost us close to RM20,000.

Can you imagine our frustration when we were told to repeat the whole exercise when we could not sell the bumi units ?

In exasperation, I told the DBKL officials that even if we were to give a 20 percent discount to the bumis, they would not buy our houses because they were located in Salak South, Sungai Besi, a middle-class enclave of the urban Chinese. Nearby there is a market selling pork and a Chinese school.

The official just said, 'You have to advertise in the papers again and do the campaign at Mid-Valley Megamall again," without any compromise.

We are a small housing developer and the total units built was 40 with the bumi allocation at 12. We had complied with all the stipulated conditions and now after more than a year of waiting, DBKL still does not want to release the bumi units to be sold to the non-bumis.

At the meeting, DBKL dropped a bombshell.

If we could not sell the bumi's units, then we would now have to pay the bumi discount quantum direct to DBKL.

In our case, since we gave a 7 percent discount, the quantum for each unit was RM29,400. For the 12 unsold bumi lots, we would have to pay RM352,800 to DBKL. All the developers who attended the meeting protested vehemently at this atrocious policy and
refused to pay and the meeting ended without any resolution.

We would like to ask DBKL what rationale is there to give a discount to Bumis who could afford to buy a RM420,000 house ?

This is clearly an abuse of the NEP. Why should developers and the other races need to bear the cost
of implementing their bumiputera ownership policy. It is thoroughly unfair to expect developers to bear the cost of advertising and conducting roadshows in order that Malays buy the houses.

>>>>>>>>>>

I would also raise the question why DBKL should be paid a cash amount for the unrealised bumi discounts?

THIS IS EXTORTION!

Rajesh said...

Nice article. Yes I totally agree with you in discount property market there is a special role for real estate adviser and for a better deal there contribution cannot be neglected.

Anonymous said...

I dont even know this until my friend who works in developers tell me!! When they said 7% Bumis disc they only meant for those bumi with "Bin or Binti", if you are a bumi without binti or bin like kadazan,Iban...you are NOT entitle for 7%, unless you go to certain government office to get it proved .. few document to submit..what the fuck, from here u can tell the 7% is only for Muslim !! It really happened in PJ district. and yes...rich bumis will be getting rich..