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Malaysia to launch a ‘charm offensive’ to attract foreign property investors

Although like many other countries Malaysia it is seeing a downturn in the property market, industry professionals are convinced it will not suffer too badly and they want potential investors to know that Malaysia is an attractive option.

'The Malaysian property market is still attractive in terms of prices. Properties in Malaysia are among the cheapest in the region and our laws are comparatively more lenient for foreigners to buy and sell property,' said Yeow This Sang, honorary treasurer of the International Real Estate Federation.

Yeow said foreigners wanting to purchase property in countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam were generally put off by the countries' respective laws. 'For example foreign property owners in Malaysia are not subjected to death taxes,' Yeow said.

The Federation is to contact organisations in other countries to improve communication and help investors become aware of what is available in Malaysia. A representative is set to visit Japan next month at the start of the 'charm offensive'.

Yeow said he does not predict a slump in the property market in Malaysia. 'Yes, there is a slowdown and that is mainly due to the rising price of raw materials rather than a financial crisis in the country,' he said.

'Problems occur when construction costs go up midway through a project and it can be uncertain whether the developer, contractor or consumer will bear the cost,' he added.

But this will not create a slump, not while demand remains steady,' he predicted. But he admitted that a severe economic downturn in the country could affect property prices.

'If unemployment were to rise, people will not be able to pay their loans and that will cause a slump,' he added.