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Johor, Malaysia, chief minister says US$100B Forest City open to foreign buyers

Foreigners may buy units at Country Garden Holdings Co. Ltd.'s controversial US$100 billion Forest City project being developed in Johor, Malaysia, Reuters reported, citing Osman Sapian, chief minister of the state.

"The Johor government believes that Malaysia has comprehensive laws that protect the rights of foreign investors and companies, including purchasing property," the news outlet quoted Sapian as saying.

The state had proposed to reserve 30% of the development for domestic buyers, subject to a review by a committee comprising the state government, the Housing and Local Government Ministry, the Finance Ministry and Country Garden Pacificview Sdn. Bhd., the local arm of Country Garden.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had earlier said the government would not issue visas to foreign buyers of Forest City residential units being constructed by the Chinese developer, in line with his long-time opposition against the project. The federal government plans to review the terms of the project.

So far, two-thirds of the units sold at the project have been acquired by Chinese buyers, while Malaysians account for a fifth of all buyers, according to the Sept. 4 Reuters report. Residents from 22 other countries — including Indonesia, Vietnam and South Korea — have picked up the rest of the sold units.