International Business & Economy Malaysia: The rise of the rent generation by default

Malaysia: The rise of the rent generation by default

By A. F.




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For the past decade, Malaysians have been hit by soaring house prices to the limit that those earning salaries of up to RM6000 (S$1933) cannot even afford to buy a decent single-storeyed link home.

These are the types of houses that were sold for less than RM100,000 in the 1980’s, but today a brand new house in a far-away suburb from the bustling center of Selangor or Kuala Lumpur would cost RM400,000 or RM500,000 to the least.

In this article, we analyse whats up with the housing situation in Malaysia.

In the past three years, analysts have been saying three major points that show either they are missing the true situation in the housing problem in Malaysia or that they could be deliberately avoiding the real issues.

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In these recent years, housing loans applied by Malaysians have seen a sharp decline in approvals, which has fallen at steep rates.

TISG did ask an analyst who commented in an article linked here – (The problem with housing loans in Malaysia) – which leads us to the first point spurted out by analysts: “You can’t afford, you don’t buy.”

The second point most common among analysts and economists is that “Malaysians need to take financial literacy courses”, in which they are admitting a failure in the system under the current regime that Malaysians need to learn how to spend their money wisely.

To counter these arguments, Malaysians are saying how is it possible for someone to afford a house when their salary is way below the average line in the developed world’s average annual income?

Just take a look at the average salary in Singapore and in Malaysia as a comparison, said some locals who have no means to buy a house.

Yes, the standard of living is different but Singapore compensates their higher cost of living with more quality living.

Furthermore, there was a study that shows that every one in eight Singaporeans are millionaires and that tells a different story when one compares tiny Singapore’s success to Malaysia’s.

On the other hand, even if you take a financial acumen course, your monthly average of RM3000 will stay as such and would not increase as fast as the property market value.

The current state of affairs forces Malaysians to either rent or being forced to acquire a dodgy flat at the end of the day.

Not to confuse our Singaporean readers, flats in Malaysia are not as nice as their Singaporean counterparts as they were initially meant for the lower income group here in Malaysia.

And the lower income group would mean those earning less than RM2000 a month!

After further querying the experts who always speaks in the favour of the powers that be, they would then throw in their third most favorite point: Malaysians should take up a second job or get a higher paying job in order to afford a home of their own.

As said by Malaysian internet meme favorite Ahmad Maslan – who was Minister of finance 2 but was demoted to Minister of Industry 2, Malaysians should take a second job in order for them to earn more money to afford a better living.

Again this is a form of recognition by the authorities – a Minister – that the system has failed but then, there are patchwork solutions that can be applied.

Though it is a smart thing to say, however, it is not so smart when a large majority of companies in Malaysia or anywhere else in the world would not allow their employees to hold a second job. They will be clamoring that ‘efficiency and productivity’ are at stake!

Yes, there is an option of making your own business, but it is not that easy starting up one as banks in the first place are not giving out loans to people to buy their own home, let alone to build up a business with no collateral and so on.

All of these adds up to make the next generation to be the current generation a “rent generation” which former Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore famously combated with the HDB program.

All these issues would mean, Malaysians would risk owning a suitable home for themselves in the future.

Singapore’s former PM LKY said in a documentary about Singapore that people who rent would not think of the property as theirs, however, those who own their own property would take care of it because it is theirs.

There is so much for Malaysians to ponder upon!

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