BN will be betraying its former election promise of cheaper houses, as the new duty on imported steel construction materials will likely push up building costs, said Perak DAP leaders.
“We strongly condemned the government’s move to impose new taxes on imported steel products. This new tax will increase the domestic construction costs and thus lead to higher property prices.
“Property developers will definitely not absorb this newly imposed import duty, and will pass on the cost increase to property buyers.
“In the third pledge of BN's last general election manifesto, BN had promised to provide affordable and secure housing.
“The imposition of new import duty on steel shows that BN has betrayed its election manifesto and the people’s trust,” said DAP assemblypersons Paul Yong Choo Kiong (Tronoh), A Sivasubramaniam (Buntong) and Perak DAP economic development chief Chong Zhemin in a joint statement today.
“Ultimately, it will be the property purchasers who will foot the bill for the steel import duty.
“We call on the government to put a stop to this potential property price hike and withdraw the steel import tax with immediate effect,” said the trio.
They were responding to Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani's claim yesterday the additional duties on imported steel construction materials were meant to protect the local industry from cheaper overseas alternatives.
The affected products are steel concrete reinforcing bars (rebar) and steel wire rods and deformed bar in coils used in the construction industry.
The Masters Builders Association of Malaysia has complained of the new taxes warning that property buyers would foot higher construction costs.
'Give tax breaks instead'
The Perak DAP leaders said if the government truly wanted to help the local steel materials manufacturers, they should instead be aiding them with incentives instead of imposing import duties.
“If the government’s intention is to protect the local steel industry, the government should provide the local steel industry with tax rebates or subsidies.
“There is no need to impose a new import tax on steel products,” said DAP trio.
“The move to provide local steel players with tax rebate or subsidy will not only ensure that the local manufactured steel is able to maintain at a competitive price, it can also prevent the property prices to continue climbing, killing two birds with one stone,” they said.
The trio added the new tax will not help an already stagnant Perak property market.
Citing the Malaysian Real Estate Development Association statistics that the Perak market has been stagnant in the past six months, they claimed property sales rates do not exceed 30 percent.
“Some developers has not sold even a single house recording zero sales,” they said.
“The government's new steel import tax will make the current stagnant property market worse and house ownership even more difficult for young people hunting for their first home.”- mkini