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Johor's chief minister to table amendments to controversial housing bill

Johor's Chief Minister Khaled Nordin says he will table amendments to the Johor Housing and Property Board Bill 2014 after critics fear the initial version will give excessive powers to the state's royal ruler, the sultan.

JOHOR: In Malaysia's southern state of Johor, a bill will be tabled on Monday to set up a housing and real property board which critics fear will give excessive powers to the state's royal ruler, the sultan.

The board aims to promote and undertake the development of housing and real estate property in one of Malaysia's most rapidly developing states.

The initial distributed version of the Johor Housing and Property Board Bill 2014 gives the sultan power to appoint board members, oversee its accounts and dissolve the board.

But critics have called the proposed bill "regressive and unhealthy" and in violation of the spirit of state and federal constitutions.

Johor's Chief Minister Khaled Nordin has since announced he will table amendments to soften the sultan's powers.

He said the changes would make it clear that the sultan would act only on advice of the chief minister - especially when it comes to appointing board members.

However, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has questioned Mr Khaled's ability to do this, given the Malay tradition which considers the sultan as the head of state.

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