Malaysia says buying of property by foreigners does not give them automatic residency

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said that foreigners will not be allowed to buy homes at the Forest City project (above) near Singapore, or granted visas to live there. ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia said on Tuesday (Aug 28) that the buying of property assets by foreigners does not guarantee them automatic residency.

A statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said that property purchases by foreign nationals must abide by the country's rules and regulations, and that it welcomes all tourists including those from China.

The statement was issued as questions were raised regarding the comments made by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Monday to bar foreigners from buying units at the giant Forest City project in Johor. The Chinese project developer Country Garden has said that 70 per cent of the units were bought by Chinese nationals.

Tun Mahathir had also said that Malaysia would not be giving "visas for people to come and live here".

The PMO statement said: "On property purchases by foreigners, irrespective of nationality, Malaysia imposes certain conditions, and information on these conditions are publicly available.

"Purchase of properties, however, does not guarantee automatic residency in the country".

Malaysia, in general, only allows foreigners to buy residential units priced at RM1 million (S$330,000) and above, with several states placing higher minimum prices.

The PMO statement added that foreigners wishing to make Malaysia their permanent residence could join the Malaysia My Second Home programme.

"Malaysia welcomes all tourists including from China and there are no restrictions imposed on foreign tourists for as long as they meet all the necessary immigration requirements imposed by the Malaysian authorities".

The statement said China tourists are given 30-day visas.

Last year, 2.3 million Chinese tourists came to Malaysia and the South-east Asian country is looking to attract 10 million in coming years.

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