PETALING JAYA: The National House Buyers Association (HBA) and four other associations are preparing a joint memorandum against the proposed addition of a new chapter for private lease schemes in the National Land Code 1965. HBA secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said the decision was made after a briefing by HBA on the proposed private lease scheme and its ramifications at a meeting organised by Association of Valuers, Property Managers, Estate Agents and Property Consultants in the Private Sector Malaysia (PEPS) held last Friday. "We will be jointly submitting a memorandum to the Prime Minister since the Natural Resources and Environment Minister has not been appointed. We are preparing the joint memorandum now and we hope to meet the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry soon," he told SunBiz. The associations in support of HBA opposing the proposal are the Royal Institution of Surveyors Malaysia, Malaysian Institute of Professional Property Managers, Malaysian Institute of Professional Estate Agents and Consultants and PEPS. According to Chang, the proposed scheme would not only result in home buyers becoming renters in perpetuity, it would also contribute towards an increase in house prices. "The proposed private lease scheme would potentially create a generation of homeless people. When the lease expires after the maximum 99 years with no reasonable expectation to have the lease extended with reasonable fee, house owners will live at the whim and fancy of developers/proprietors. Unlike the government, developers/proprietors are not accountable and do not have moral obligations to the people," he said. Chang said the public at large would also be confused and have difficulty in distinguishing between leasehold land (under state lease) and private lease. As the value of a lease declines when it draws closer to the end of its term, such leases under the proposed scheme would not have much value as collateral, in comparison with state leasehold and freehold land. This would prevent wealth from being passed on from one generation to another. "The value of lease will diminish with each expiring lease tenure. Example of properties being affected are those for resale, auction and refinancing cases," he added. While the proposal appears to be motivated by efforts to prevent foreigners from possessing too much land in Johor, the introduction of a new chapter in the Code means that the scheme would be applicable throughout Malaysia. "This issue may open a new can of worms in that owners of 'freehold' land status will now hold on to their ownership forever for generations like the feudal system of land ownership and under the colonial days where land are granted by lease and license to cultivate. Should we not be moving away from our colonised days?" Chang questioned. "Our current generation cannot allow the creation of a monster that will affect our children and our children's children," he said.