(© Steve Woods / sxc.hu)
PETALING JAYA, 26 Feb 2009: Kedah’s 50% bumiputera housing policy only applies to properties built on Malay reserve land, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak clarified.
He said the ratio was still 70:30 for non-Malay Malaysians to Malay Malaysians on freehold land.
The 50% quota on Malay reserve land was in fact fair to non-Malay Kedahans due to shortage of freehold land in Kedah, Azizan told The Nut Graph when contacted today.
He was asked to respond to criticisms by Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang of the PAS-led government for allowing the 50% bumiputera quota to continue despite protests.
“There is no more freehold land in Kedah so we are allowing non-Malay [Malaysians] to own property on Malay reserve land. That is why the 50% bumiputera quota only applies to Malay reserve land. It’s fair, isn’t it?” said Azizan who sounded agitated.
He criticised Tan for not understanding the situation. “He makes a press statement because he doesn’t understand the situation, and you reporters buat kacau because of that. I am fed up of explaining this issue,” Azizan said.
Azizan yesterday told reporters covering the state’s weekly executive councilors’ meeting that the 50% bumiputera quota would stay, but without much explanation. This appeared to contradict a state decision on 24 Nov 2008 that it would revert to 30% after objections, especially by the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda).
The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Kedah state government was formed after PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat collectively won the majority of seats in the March 2008 elections. Azizan implemented the 50% quota on 1 Sept 2008.
Yesterday, Tan issued a statement that Kedah Gerakan Youth was strongly against the quota.
He said there was a hidden implication in the policy which, if continued over time, would gradually decrease the amount of land and housing available to non-bumiputeras.
He said this was because even though the housing quota only applied to Malay reserve land, it would involve swapping plots of land between Malay reserve and non-reserve land.
According to Tan, swapping is done to maintain the amount of land gazetted as Malay reserve land, the size of which is protected by state law.
Tan said the swap would convert plots of non-reserve land into Malay reserve land for development.
He said the same amount of land under Malay reserve would then be converted into non-reserve land as compensation, but he alleged that in practice this was done to land not suitable for development.
Tan said Azizan had to explain the long term effects and benefits of such a policy.
“The state government has failed to show how such a policy would assist the development of the state,” Tan said.
He also said that a suggestion by Kedah Rehda to have a release mechanism for unsold bumiputera lots has not been taken up.
Tan said top PR leaders such as Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Karpal Singh and Lim Guan Eng should come out to say whether they agree with the quota or not.