Monday, October 21, 2019

AFFORDABLE HOUSING : FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MUST TAKE THE LEAD.

The Federal Government must expedite its decision on Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia.

It was previously announced that a due dilligence will be carried out and a decision on its future will be made.

The dateline as promised for the decision had passed and we are still waiting with bated breath.

Whatever the decision maybe the target for the low and middle income owning their own home could not be realised without government assistance.

Currently state governments like Selangor make it compulsory for developers with projects more than a certain acreage to provide a certain percentage of affordable housing ranging from RM42,000 to RM220,000 per unit.

Such policy managed to increase the affordable housing stock but many developers claimed that it is a strain to their finance.

This policy requires developers to subsidise the construction of the affordable homes as the land cost and construction cost is often higher than the approved selling price.

However there are allegations that developers inflate the prices of the non-affordable homes to provide these subsidies. In the end, it will be the case of housebuyers subsidising housebuyers.

Whether these allegations are true or otherwise, it is not sustainable to solely depend on private developers.

Malaysia needs an entity like the Housing Development Board ( HDB ) in Singapore and therefore PR1MA or other similar entity to address the nation housing issue is a must.

Although developers must also play their part but the provision of affordable housing must be the responsiblity of the Federal Government especially when huge cash subsidies are required.

Affordable housing must not be seen as a totally commercial exercise. The return to the government is not direct monetary proceeds but having citizens that are happy, contented, prosperous and efficient as a result of proper housing. Even the HDB in Singapore had received cash injections from its government.

Therefore appointing a corporate person with limited understanding of the problems facing the middle and low income earners to head this entity would not be very sensible

Dato' Iskandar A. Samad
Head Coordinator
REACH ( Resource Centre For The Advancement Of The Community & Housing / Pusat Sumber Untuk Kemajuan Masyarakat  & Perumahan )
18 July 2019

*Dato' Iskandar was the Selangor State Government Exco for Housing, Building Management & Urban Living from 2008 to 2018. He was also formerly a board member of the Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS), Lembaga Perumahan Dan Hartanah Selangor (LPHS) and Perumahan Dan Hartanah Selangor Sdn. Bhd. (PHSSB).