Contrary to public perception, Malaysia may prove to be the biggest beneficiary of China’s capital controls. Despite forebodings that the Chinese worldwide property shopping spree has come to an end following capital controls imposed by Beijing in late December, local expert, Dato’ Sri Gavin Tee believes the measures will benefit the markets in the long-term.
In particular, he is of the opinion that Malaysia will be the main beneficiary due to its close connection and cultural similarities with China.
“The impact is certainly positive for Malaysia even in the short-term. I foresee more Chinese investments coming in due to several strong factors,” he said during a press conference at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Swhengtee Property Expo and One Belt One Road Property & Finance Expo recently.
He added that Western nations, up till now, are the favourite destinations for Chinese property buyers, may have to adjust to the new environment of fewer Chinese buyers but their property market won’t collapse. “Prices of property in hotspots like London and Vancouver might be affected but this is a healthy trend in the long term.”
Tee believes the inconvenience the Chinese buyers face in taking money out of China would not be a long-term problem and sooner or later, there will be some adjustments to accommodate this. Tee is positive the Chinese will continue to invest in overseas property and in the long-term may even make up the biggest share of the world’s property market. In the meantime however, the capital controls will definitely change the way the Chinese invest overseas.
He continued that many Chinese have traveled around the world and have finally come to the conclusion that Malaysia is still the best place for them as their ‘final destination’ for business, education, health and wellness, and retirement.
At the same time, they are encouraged by the fact that their government has warm ties with the Malaysian government, with many mega projects being jointly undertaken or are in the pipeline. “Our Malaysian government policies are friendly to them and that’s a very strong pull factor,” he stressed.
“Chinese investors in general are also suffering from ‘Western fatigue’ where many Western nations (as well as Hong Kong and Singapore) have imposed protectionist policies including high barriers to property investment in their countries, for example, the UK and Australia.
“This has prompted the Chinese to shift their attention to more welcoming regions like ASEAN. Within ASEAN, Malaysia stands out for being the most China-friendly in terms of our policies and our government-to-government co-operation.”
Rise of the SMIs/SMEs
He singled out Malaysian SMI and SME development which is currently at a matured stage – and which the Chinese entrepreneurs are hoping to leverage on – to drive the growth ahead.
“I expect the Chinese SMIs/SMEs to invest heavily in Malaysia. At the same time, our Malaysian SMIs are moving to China. Imagine the huge movement of trading/business and people between these 2 countries. Being the smaller country, the Malaysian economy will definitely benefit immensely.”
“So, contrary to the general perception, Malaysia will gain a lot of market share of Chinese investment worldwide.”
Tee, who is also the President of Swhengtee International Group, believes that after the mega-project era (which is still ongoing), the activities would shift back to small and medium enterprises, with technology being the underlying factor. “The SMI/SMEs will dominate economic growth again similar to the 80s and 90s when SMIs/SMEs were the engine of growth.”
Along with this growth, there will be more functional type of investments like manufacturing rather than just pure investment. “In the next 3 – 5 years, I foresee the Chinese to come in greater numbers for business, tourism, education and retirement. The basic elements for coming here are all there – but this will not create a bubble. This is the healthy type of investment – such as entrepreneurship, which the Chinese government encourages as well.
Many Chinese Mainlands have already secured their MM2H residency in Malaysia and are bringing their business enterprises and network to Malaysia as well as their families. This augurs well for the property market in Malaysia as they would need to acquire property for both their business and dwelling.
“At the same time, the cultural similarities with Malaysia draw them in compared with Western culture. In particular, those coming from China’s Tier 2 and 3 cities feel more at home in Malaysia than say, the US, Europe or Australia,” he added.
The facilities in Malaysia also meet their needs – manufacturing, health and wellness, education, tourism, infrastructure and IT – these 6 factors are the same factors sought by Chinese throughout the world. “And luckily for Malaysia, we provide all of them,” Tee noted.
For this reason, Swhengtee Property Expo has brought in officials from Chinese cities to introduce the advantages of their cities; accompanying them will be hundreds of investors from China. In addition, due to the long Hari Raya weekend, many outstation shoppers visiting Mid Valley City will take the opportunity to attend the expo.
Swhengtee Property Expo is expected to be a success in providing a great networking platform for both Malaysian and Chinese developers/real estate stakeholders as well as a one-stop venue for potential home-buyers and investors.
Source : Propertyguru
US Justice Dept files lawsuits seeking to seize properties worth more than $1.35 billion tied to Malaysia’s 1MDB
WASHINGTON (REUTERS/AFP/BLOOMBERG) – The United States Department of Justice filed lawsuits on Wednesday (July 20) seeking to seize dozens of properties worth more than US$1 billion (S$1.35 billion) tied to Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), saying that over US$3.5 billion (S$4.7 billion) was misappropriated from the institution.
The lawsuits, filed in Los Angeles, seek to seize assets”involved in and traceable to an international conspiracy to launder money misappropriated from 1MDB”. The lawsuits said the alleged offences were committed over a four-year period and involved multiple individuals, including Malaysian officials and their associates, who conspired to fraudulently divert billions of dollars from 1MDB.
None of the lawsuits named Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. But they named Riza Aziz, his step-son, as a “relevant individual” in the case. They also named Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, and Abu Dhabi government officials Khadem al-Qubaisi and Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny.
The US lawsuits said funds misappropriated from 1MDB were transferred to the co-founder of Petrosaudi, a company that had a joint venture with 1MDB, and thereafter to a high-ranking official in the Malaysian government it identified only as “Malaysian Official One”.
The assets involved in the case include penthouses, mansions, artwork, a private jet and proceeds from the “Wolf of Wall Street” movie that it says were illegally acquired through money diverted from 1MDB.
“1MDB maintained no interest in these assets and saw no returns on these investments,” the government said.
“That misappropriation occurred in multiple phases over the course of several years,” the lawsuits said.
“The misappropriated funds were then used to purchase the Defendant Asset, as well as to fund the co-conspirators’ lavish lifestyles, including purchases of artwork and jewelry, the acquisition of luxury real estate, the payment of gambling expenses, and the hiring of musicians and celebrities to attend parties,” it added.
US Attorney-General Loretta Lynch will hold a news conference on Wednesday to discuss the suit seeking to recover more than $1 billion linked to a conspiracy to launder money misappropriated from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.
The Justice Department said Ms Lynch and other law enforcement officials would hold a news conference at 11.30am Eastern Daylight Time to announce the filing of civil forfeiture complaints seeking to recover more than US$1 billion in assets.
A spokesman for 1MDB did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment sent by e-mail.
The Malaysia fund is at the centre of several international investigations into alleged corruption and money laundering by public officials. Prosecutors in at least four countries – Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the United States – are looking into money flows from the investment vehicle, which was established for national development.
Among the questions asked by some international authorities is whether politically connected individuals in Kuala Lumpur may have benefited financially from the fund, whose advisory board was headed by Mr Najib.
Both 1MDB and the Prime Minister have denied wrongdoing.
In 2013, the private sale of an unassuming five storey apartment block near Monash University in Caulfield stunned local observers. Even in Melbourne’s booming property market, the $22.5 million price tag for a building designed like an IKEA cupboard seemed well above the odds.
An eight-month Fairfax Media investigation has traced suspicious money flows, court files and corporate records across three continents to uncover why Dudley House’s purchase price was so high.
Its sale was part of a global money laundering and bribery scheme engineered by greedy local developers and powerful officials overseas who pocketed $4.75 million in bribes on this single deal. The sale of Dudley House in Caulfield which has been linked with corrupt Malaysian officials, who allegedly intentionally paid 20% over the asking price.
Mr Low a Singaporean property agent, posted on his Facebook wall about his stolen car on 23rd May. He claims his car was stolen in Tesco Tebrau between 8.45PM to 9.45PM, and uploaded a picture of the parking lot where his car was supposed to be. He had to be ferried back to Singapore by friends and has since lodged a police report.