Mohamed Khaled Nordin, the mentri besar”, or chief executive, of Johor, was quoted by the online publication as saying that the amount of the proposed tax increasewas still being discussed, but that the new rates would be imposed by the end of the year.
“I believe that most Malaysians will be in agreement to this new policy,” he added, according to the Star, which said his comments came ahead of a personal appearance in Permas, a district in Johor, on Sunday.
“It is [to be] done to increase our state’s returns.”
He added that a property re-evaluation would also take place statewide, since the last formal assessment took place in the 1980s.
“There has been a steady hike in property prices in Johor and the re-evaluation is aimed to ensure that the local councils get proper tax returns."
Khaled Nordin stressed that the higher property tax rates would target “those who own high-end property” rather than ordinary Malaysian taxpayers, vowing that there would be “no increase in tax for lower priced properties”, The Star noted.
Increasingly popular among expats
The news that taxes on expensive properties in Johor are due to rise comes as the area is becoming an increasingly-popular district for expatriates. As reported, these expats are attracted by the relatively lower cost of living as compared with nearby Singapore, where many of them work, as well as by the prospect of sending their children to the newly-opened foreign campus of Marlborough College, one of Britain’s most sought-after private schools.
Wiltshire-based Marlborough – whose former pupils include Kate Middleton, the wife of Prince William, and David Cameron’s wife Samantha – opened the doors of its new 90-acre campus in the state last August.
The growing interest by expats in Johor comes around six years after the Malaysian government targeted the Iskandar area of Johor in particular for development, and as the cost of living – particularly housing – has been soaring in Singapore.