A Singaporean in Johor

In Money, News Reports, Politics, Society on February 19, 2013 at 11:56 pm

When I grow old(er), I will move to…Johor! I mean, have you seen the stuff that’s coming up in Iskandar region? More importantly, did you read about what those homes could be priced at?
Go buy BT.

There is this place called the Oasis, a 147-unit development of premium strata residences consisting of studie, 1, 2 and 2+1 bedroom units. Priced at RM700 – 800 psf, a 500 -1,000 sqf studio could cost RM350,000 – 800,000. (Hmm…what’s the price of a COE?)

Oh! Oh! And then there is this other place called Avira, with bungalow, terrace houses, semi-ds, condo units and service apartments. A double-story terrace house of 2,200 sqf will cost RM924,000. RM is Malaysian ringgit for those who are really, really blur. Go get your own calculator and work out the exchange rate.

Okay, I know there are plenty of Singaporeans with homes next door but these places come with a Singapore stamp. Temasek Holdings has sunk a foot in these developments. Other Singapore developers are also in the fray. Plus these places seem designed for people like me – I almost make the grade as a post-war baby boomer. Living there means being surrounded by what is known as “wellness’’ amenities plus plenty of hospitals with familiar Singapore names.(I THINK can use Medisave there.)

The announcements by the two Prime Ministers of Singapore and Malaysia look like the best news in recent time. For both leaders, it’s probably great timing. Malaysia has a general election due by middle of the year. Singapore is screaming about lack of space. So Johor is …our hinterland? I will do my patriotic duty and move over so as not to be a burden on the state, dependent on the ever small-group of younger Singaporeans and a strain on our infrastructure.

Go further up by fast-speed rail and KL is… our playground? I think plenty of people are excited by this prospect. I know the costs haven’t been worked out, but I sure hope the ticket is less than the price of admission into Gardens by the Bay.

But wait a minute. What if the Malaysians decide to treat foreigners differently? You know, levy higher charges on non-Malaysians in healthcare? Or impose a national service tax of sorts because we are leeching on their resources? Or complain that we are raising property prices and the price of everything else? Cannot be right? What if Malaysians say they should have first dibs who gets to stay there? I suppose I’ll have to pay some additional stamp duty to own a property. You think I can get part-time employment there? Or is there a levy/quota?

Oh wait. What if the rules change?

I also read in BT that there will be an “airport city’’ around Senai. Hmm…so if I live around there, I go Senai for my travels? Wouldn’t this be competition to our own Changi airport? I am real proud of Changi, so I guess I’ll travel back into Singapore so that Changi can keep boasting about its arrival/departure figures.

But why I am pouring cold water over such news? I shouldn’t. At the very least, it shows that bilateral relations are blossoming. I don’t have to read about the haggling over water prices or railway land or a crooked bridge to replace the Causeway although I’m quite intrigued about the “third link’’ that’s proposed.

I also hope Mr Najib stays in power because I don’t know how a new leadership would act. New broom, you know, sweeps clean and we might just be some dust in the corner.

And as non-citizens, we wouldn’t have any speaking rights no matter if Temasek or Capitaland has a say in Iskandar. Hmm… I sound like a foreigner.

Maybe I should stay at home. At least I have voting rights, even if whatever I say isn’t loud enough to be heard.

  1. Bumiputras do get first dips – or at least preferential benefits – on developments with a quota imposed on the developer to retain usually 30% of units for Malaysians. The “bumiputra lots” or reserved units, are given a 7 per cent discount off selling price.

  2. […] – I’m getting personal…: Singapore-KL high-speed rail – Bertha Harian: A Singaporean in Johor […]

  3. 1. Check out the Malaysia, My Second Home initiative that was launched some years ago.

    2. I wouldn’t assume Government / Temasek’s involvement would guarantee a success. Remember the investment in Shin Corp? Or the Southern Growth Triangle that spurred some Singaporeans into buying “good value for money” properties in Batam?
    So you’re correct – better pray there’s no change in government on both sides……might also have to pray there’s no change in persons leading the governments & political parties.

    3. Germans & Japanese have been retiring to The Philippines & Thailand for years to stretch their pension dollars. So it’s quite logical that the Singapore Government is preparing the grounds for Singaporeans to do the same. It’s a good way to reduce the >60 age group that’s occupying precious space.

    4. I think Mr Khaw had broached about retirement homes across the Causeway some years back. So I sense the paperwork will be done for Medisave / Medishield to be used at “approved” medical facilities. (Note: I thought this was already offered by Parkway)

    5. “Game changer” is an apt description of this move – kills multiple birds with 1 stone.
    …..creates economic activities which boosts GDP (I think the 2-3% target will be helped)
    * Lawyers / Bankers / Property agents for these properties….both at purchase & also for Estate Duty related issues.
    * SPH gets more ads for Iskandar properties
    * Insurance co & medical chains setting up the seamless process for Medisave / Medishield claims
    * Transport companies providing various transport options to / from Singapore – remember only foreigners can drive a foreign-registered vehicle into Singapore.
    * Malay language & cultural classes so that we can communicate better with the citizens.
    * Telcos for the increase in cross-country communication

    6. Have you chosen your space in “Little Singapore” across the Causeway yet?

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