KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27, 2015:

MCA central committee member Lua Choon Hann says that escalating property prices should not be turned into a racial issue.

Commenting on a written reply to Parliament made by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said that there was a pressing need to ensure that Malay citizens had the capability to own land and property, Lua said that the problem was affecting Malaysians in general and not limited to only one racial group.

“Nowadays, it is clear that property prices are soaring higher and faster than the income growth of Malaysians, and this is the reason why many Malaysians, not just Malays, are unable to afford their own homes,” he said in a statement today.

He said Azalina had a rather narrow mind-set to a common problem and that her claims that the “dignity” of Malays were being “challenged” was only part of a larger dilemma.

“Taking a racial stand on a purely economic issue will only make things more complicated as well as potentially undermine national unity and racial harmony.

“As a minister, Azalina should be using her position of influence in the government to push for proactive measures to help the people, instead of twisting issues into racial ones.”

He added steps were already in place to counteract the problem for the benefit of the people as well as the economy.

“The government is well aware of this problem and has recently taken a series of steps to control the rapidly escalating property prices, such as implementing the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT), and increasing the RPGT rate from 20% in 2014 to the current 30%.

“In addition, Bank Negara has also imposed tighter loan conditions on property purchasers to prevent speculation which causes property price hikes.

“These initiatives by the government are in line with its responsibilities of ensuring that every Malaysian is entitled to housing by controlling property prices,” he said.

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