State Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Abd Latiff Bandi said the prices of houses were determined by other factors, such as the ever increasing price of land and the cost of building materials like cement, bricks and steel.
He was replying to oral questions in the state legislative assembly from Ayub Jamil (BN–Rengit) and Mohd Ismail Roslan (BN-Semerah) who had wanted to know whether the purchase of houses by Singaporeans had caused prices of houses in Johor to rise.
Abd Latiff said only 9,826 Singaporeans had been given approval to purchase houses and shophouses in Johor over the past 10 years up to June this year.
Foreign ownership of real estate in the state was always controlled under the provisions of the National Land Code 1965.
“Foreigners can only own real estate after their applications are approved by the state government,” he said.
Abd Latiff also said that he did not deny the existence of foreign speculators who bought and sold houses within a short period to make a huge profit, thus triggering a price increase.
He added, however, that there were not many of such speculators and that the government was handling the matter with the provisions in the existing laws.
Ayub had asked a supplementary question on whether speculators were a reason for the rise in the prices of houses.
Abd Latiff said the state government was also reviewing the policy on real estate ownership in Johor by foreign interests, which was being looked into by a committee.
He said that under the existing policy, foreign interests could only own real estate valued at RM500,000 and above with certain quotas for real estate development.
These quotas included 20 per cent for double-storey terrace house and double-storey cluster house, 30 per cent for bungalow house and vacant bungalow lot and 50 per cent for condominium, apartment and service apartment projects, he added.