Penang Still Open To Regulating Homestays, 200 Home Buyers Host Raya ‘Open House’ At Abandoned Project, And More

·6-min read

6th May – 9th May

The state government of Penang remains open to the option of regulating short-term rental homes, even as it announced plans to ban homestays.

Meanwhile, some 200 buyers of an abandoned housing project in Kuching protested the unfulfilled promises of the developer by holding a Hari Raya open house at their half-completed units.

1) Penang still open to regulating homestays

While it announced plans to ban homestays, the state government of Penang remains open to the option of regulating short-term rental homes.

Yeoh Soon Hin, Chairman of the State Tourism and Creative Economy Committee, explained that the ban will only be imposed on high-rise buildings with residential titles that prohibits owners from renting out their units on a short-term basis, reported Bernama.

As such, the ban will not cover kampung-style homestays since it is allowed by the Ministry of Tourism, Art and Cultural (MOTAC) as a tourism product. Notably, the state is yet to decide on when the ban would take effect.

“We will discuss with all the ministries and agencies involved to set up new rules and regulations to regulate short-term rental homes or homestays in the state,” said Yeoh. These include the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, MOTAC and the local councils.

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2) 200 home buyers host Raya ‘open house’ at abandoned project

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To protest the unfulfilled promises of the developer, some 200 buyers of the abandoned Sentoria Borneo Samariang Garden housing project in Kuching hosted a Hari Raya open house at their half-completed units.

The project, which involved over 1,000 homes in five phases, commenced construction in 2018, reported Free Malaysia Today.

The group’s representative Rahman Abdul Hamid said the last letter they received from the project’s developer was in September, in which the developer promised that the homes would be completed within a year from restarting work in Q4 2021.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Openg said the state will take over the housing project once legal issues are settled given that the developer is a listed company.

“I don’t think they (developers) will be able to continue with the housing project,” he said.

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3) Johor identifies 40 ailing projects

The Johor state government had identified 40 ailing projects, or those between 10% and 50% completed since their developers no longer have the means to continue works.

Penang Still Open To Regulating Homestays, 200 Home Buyers Host Raya ‘Open House’ At Abandoned Project, And More
Penang Still Open To Regulating Homestays, 200 Home Buyers Host Raya ‘Open House’ At Abandoned Project, And More

Datuk Mohd Jafni Md Shukor, Chairman of the State Housing and Local Government Committee, said such projects will be managed by the Johor Housing Board that was set up in March as the state try to emulate Singapore’s Housing and Development Board, reported The Star.

“There are ways we could emulate Singapore and we will focus our efforts in providing more affordable homes to the people of Johor,” he said. “Currently, we are meeting with all property developers in the state to get information on these ailing projects.”

Mohd Jafni revealed that the state plans to fund the ailing projects until their completion, but the developers of such projects would have to pay back the government once they have recovered.

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4) Selangor Fire and Rescue Department saved RM781.4mil worth of property, assets in 2021

Firefighters in Selangor dealt with 8,814 fires involving properties and buildings in 2021 and saved RM781.4 million worth of assets.

According to Norazam Khamis, Director of Selangor Fire and Rescue Department, total losses from property and building fires amounted to RM347.7 million in 2021, up from 2020’s RM297.9 million in losses, reported Bernama.

Total assets saved from the 7,521 fires recorded in 2020 amounted to RM2.66 billion.

“For this year until February, a total of RM83.5 million in assets involving buildings and property was saved, while a total of RM31.1 million in losses were recorded from 1,090 fires,” he said.

Kuala Lumpur Fire Director Nordin Pauzi, on the other hand, shared that his department saved RM322.4 million worth of assets in cases involving property and building fires in 2021, while losses amounted to RM71 million.

5) Country Heights not to proceed with Heritage Tower deal

Country Heights Holdings Bhd (CHHB) wants a refund of the RM6 million deposit it paid for Heritage Tower in Seri Kembangan.

This comes as the property’s condition is significantly different when it acquired the building for RM60 million via an auction in December 2021, reported the New Straits Times.

“We purchased the property because we thought it was a good buy to add to and expand our commercial portfolio. At the auction, the property is what you see what you get so we put down an RM6 million deposit after we won the bid,” said CHHB Managing Director Datuk Jared Lim.

But as the transaction neared completion and CHHB inspected the 10-storey office building, it found the property to be completely different from what it saw during the auction.

“The previous tenant, who left in April 2020, stripped everything from the building, and it now resembles a construction site,” said Lim.

CHHB wants the auctioneer to revert the building to its original state when it first saw it or cancel the transaction and refund its RM6 million deposit.

6) SlimHaus Technology wants to make affordable homes more accessible to Malaysians

Pioneer-status Industrialised Building System (IBS) modular home manufacturer SlimHaus Technology Sdn Bhd eyes to make affordable homes more accessible to Malaysians.

SlimHaus Director Gerald Chin revealed that the company invested millions of ringgit for the development of machineries and on research and development in the past four years to slash the time and cost normally spent on building a home, reported Bernama.

“To start an IBS company is not cheap because you cannot buy the technology off-the-shelf. You have to work with different engineers specialising in various fields like robotics, software, structural, mechanical, and electrical works,” he said.

Notably, its maiden project in Balik Pulau was delayed by almost a year due to pandemic-induced lockdowns, while its vision to develop ‘low-rise’ affordable homes seemed out of reach since its unconventional business model did not fit existing local guidelines.

Fortunately, the authorities were “very helpful and amended the documents to fit us in”, said Chin. Its maiden project is also back on track with 199 three-storey terraced homes likely to commence construction by year-end.

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