MK Land, Perak MB Inc sign MoU for affordable homes

Phase 1 will entail 200 affordable house units with prices from RM70,000 for B40

By NG MIN SHEN / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

MK LAND Holdings Bhd and Perak Mentri Besar Inc (MB Inc) are collaborating to build 1,100 units of affordable homes in Simpang Pulai, Perak, in line with the government’s aspiration to provide one million affordable homes in Malaysia.

The two parties inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) yesterday to develop a 226-acre (91.45ha) parcel of land located in Simpang Pulai, with the development to be undertaken by a joint-venture company between MB Inc and MK Land.

“This MoU is the first step for the Perak state government towards fulfilling the federal government’s promise to provide affordable housing for Malaysians.

“Simpang Pulai is currently developing at a rapid pace and we are now looking at more areas to be developed into homes,” Perak MB Ahmad Faizal Azumu (picture) said at the signing ceremony in Petaling Jaya yesterday.According to MK Land chairman Felina Mustapha Kamal, the land will be developed as an affordable housing and mixed development project with 2,400 housing units, of which 1,100 will comprise affordable terrace homes.

“Phase one of the project will entail some 200 units of affordable houses with prices starting from RM70,000, aimed at the B40 (bottom 40%) households with household income below RM3,800 per month.

“The groundbreaking for the 200 units will take place by end-October and targeted completion for these units is within 2½ years, while the entire project will be completed within eight to nine years,” she said.

Both the developer and MB Inc are hoping to enlist the help of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in ensuring that applicants and successful buyers for these homes are indeed from the targeted household group.

As the project will be cross-subsidised, the nonaffordable housing components will entail other housing and commercial aspects such as shoplots and public amenities, including a townhall, park and places of prayer.

Ahmad Faizal said the state government is also venturing into projects with other developers to build more affordable homes in Perak, as part of its own goals that align with the national affordable housing agenda.

“Our target is to build 50,000 houses within five years from now. There isn’t an exact number of how many will be affordable homes, but every housing project must include rumah mesra milik (affordable house) because these houses are larger and have better amenities, so I can say close to half of the total should be rumah mesra milik,” he stated.

Meanwhile, MK Land is looking to capitalise on its strengths going forward, mainly a vast landbank, low gearing and commendable track record in past projects.

Its CEO K Mohanachandran said the group currently has a landbank of close to 400,000 acres and a gearing ratio of less than 5%.

“We’re now moving quite aggressively, looking at how to re-activate and optimise our existing land by re-looking at the master plans for Bukit Merah and Bandar Technopolis Perdana in Perak, Setiawangsa in Kuala Lumpur, and Damansara Perdana in Petaling Jaya,” he told The Malaysian Reserve on the sidelines of the signing ceremony.

The group has five launches on its own land planned for the financial year ending June 30, 2019 (FY19), and six new launches on its own land planned for FY20.

This does include projects like the affordable housing development in Simpang Pulai as that will be based on government land, Mohanachandran added.

“Until the property market picks up, we will still focus on affordable housing. I don’t think the property bubble has burst yet — there is still some correction that will happen, especially for apartments and condominiums.

“We have also received requests from some other states to do some of their affordable housing projects, which we are now studying,” he said.

He attributed the demand to Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto to provide affordable housing, as well as MK Land’s experience, given that the developer has built seven affordable housing projects prior to the aforementioned development in Simpang Pulai.

“Some (state governments) have called us, and we have visited one. We’re also looking at other potential sites in Perak to build affordable homes,” he added.