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Freezing NT conversion may harm property sector: Goh
Published on: Sunday, April 20, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: Freezing the conversion of Native Titles (NT) to Country Lease (CL) may harm the property sector, given the scarcity of land feasible for development across Sabah, warned the Sabah Housing Real Estate Developers Association on Saturday.

Its President Francis Goh Fah Shun said the move, proposed by Balung Assemblyman Datuk Syed Abas Syed Ali recently, would only serve as a ban for developers to build more houses and shophouses.

On April 15, Syed Abas proposed to the Government in the State Legislative Assembly that applications to change NT to CL be frozen, having property prices being too expensive for the natives to purchase.

In response, Goh said Syed's suggestion could have gone unchecked, saying the prices of property built on NT lands are being offset by the selling price of the land itself.

He said: "For example, in Jalan Penampang, an acre of land can cost up to RM3 million.

"A developer can only build up to 10 houses for an acre of land, and the prices of each lot, when divided, will cost around RM300,000," he said in a press conference here.

He said now the price will further jump around RM550,000 after adding in the construction cost, while the prices can hit RM680,000 including professional fees and about 15 per cent developers' profit.

He noted land price is driven by the market trends, where the same rules apply to any major towns and areas in Sabah.

"We are not out to rob the natives. Besides, is it wrong for the natives to sell their own land?"

He said vacant CL lands in the city are now rare, prompting many developers to eye native lands that are normally above 10 to 15km away from the city.

He said freezing the conversion may also devalue the present property by having the NT lands changing hands between natives.

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