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Budget 2008: Stamp duty discount good
08/09/2007 NST Comment by Chang Kim Loong

THE 50 per cent stamp duty exemption on transfers of houses under RM250,000 is intended to stimulate the property market and reduce the overhang in residential property. Itís not much of an incentive but the National House Buyers Association welcomes it anyway.

Instead of a waiver of stamp duties on transfers between spouses, it would be more meaningful if it had been waived for transactions between parents and children.

Allowing buyers to pay monthly loan instalments out of their Employees Provident Fundís Account 2 would open the floodgates to abuse, like what occurred with fraudulent invoices for the withdrawal of EPF money to buy computers.

EPF is generally a fund for old age. We do not encourage buyers of properties to withdraw from the EPF.

HBA urges the government instead to provide fiscal incentives for interest and capital repayment to be waived for affected buyers of abandoned residential property projects.

Repayment can resume after such projects are successfully revived and vacant possession delivered. This will ease the burden of some 60,000 affected buyers, including civil servants.

Most of them have been blacklisted by financial institutions. Indeed such abandoning should not have happened in the first place, causing Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd to rehabilitate 6,000 abandoned residential units.

Lax enforcement of the Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act 1966 has meant taxpayersí money has gone into reviving such projects.

HBA is disappointed there has been no headway since the prime ministerís announcement in April to implement regulations on standardising sale and purchase agreements on the build-and-sell concept.

The market players, house- buyers and professionals are eager to adopt the new concept. But as long as the standardised sale and purchase agreement is not announced, they are unable to proceed.

The writer is the honorary secretary-general of the National House Buyers Association


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