Malaysian PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad chastised fallen PM Najib Razak, saying Malaysia do not need foreigners to build cities because Malays already know how to do that.
“I fought Najib because he gave away so much of our land and asked them to create cities. We can build our own cities. No need for others to do.
“How many companies do we have now? There is Glomac and all. Malays already know how to create cities,” Yahoo reported.
Though Dr Mahathir did not make any references on Najib giving away land to foreigners to build cities, it is well known the ex-PM gave Chinese builders vast swath of land in Johor in particular.
The land was for the construction of the controversial Forest City which became part of the load of negation that brought Najib and the Barisan Nasional down in the May General Elections.
In August this year, the Malaysian government decided to bar foreigners from the US$100 billion project in johor.
Forest city was already struggling ahead of the elections in Malaysia, with numerous reports of failures in the project, Chinese buyers pulling out due to currency controls in China and the developer deciding to target the Middle East market to revive the project.
The developer, Country Garden Holdings Co had hopes after the elections that it could revive faltering demand for its plans to build a city that would be home to 700,000 people. But Dr Mahathir torpedoed that idea.
“One thing is certain, that city that is going to be built cannot be sold to foreigners. We are not going to give visas for people to come and live here,” Dr Mahathir told reporters at a press conference in August.
He added that Malaysians would never be able to afford to buy apartments in Forest City due to its high price.
Wrestling Johor from Najib’s control was the horse battle of Dr Mahathir party in.
The elderly statemen led a thorough campaign in the state bordering Singapore, teasing the Malays about Forest City developing into a Chinese (foreign) city in their midst.
He also cosied to the Chinese in Johor reminding them of the business successes they had under his first rule as PM.
His plans worked. Johor, the birthplace of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) fell into the hands of the Pakatan Harapan opposition against all odds.
Still poking at Najib, Dr Mahathir said his administration allow foreigners to enter Malaysia’s industrial parks, instead.
He said that will be different. In the parks, they can buy land and construct and own the buildings, he said.