Submit list of affordable housing sites by month-end

Only 3 states have replied to the federal govt’s request with about 10 sites identified

By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By TMR

All states must submit a list of potential sites to be developed for affordable housing projects before the month-end, said Zuraida Kamaruddin.

The housing and local government minister said only three states — Negri Sembilan, Penang and Perak — have replied to the federal government’s request with about 10 sites identified.

States which failed to submit the possible sites, she said, will not be entertained for affordable housing projects.

“If they do not give us the land, then we are not going to build affordable houses for them. They are also responsible for their people. It is about national interest,” she said in a dialogue session organised by ASLI in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The Ampang MP is calling the administration of all states to cooperate with the ministry to develop more affordable houses.

Zuraida said currently, only 27 sites out of 127 affordable housing projects around Malaysia are handed over by state governments.

She said many chief ministers are worried that their states would be abandoned from the programme.

“They are very worried if they could not submit before the deadline slated for this month. Failing to do so, they will be removed from my list to build affordable houses in their respective states,” she said, adding that the move will help the ministry and developers to reduce the cost of houses.

Zuraida said the move also fits into the new direction under the National Housing Policy 2.0 and the setting up of the National Affordable Housing Council (NAHC) — both slated to be launched by the end of this month.

“Building a house will not only involve construction elements but also land and compliance costs. It is important for the government to ensure that these costs are minimised as they account for about 30% of the total cost,” she said.

The ministry is also expected to expand a build-up area of future affordable houses from the minimum of 700 sq ft to 990 sq ft under the new policy.

Zuraida said the NAHC, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is expected to operate most of the affordable housing agencies under its umbrella, including Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd, Perumahan Penjawat Awam Malaysia, 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme, UDA Holdings Bhd and the Housing Programme for the Hardcore Poor.

Under the new National Housing Policy, Zuraida aims to build more than one million units of affordable homes for the B40 group (lower-income bracket) in the next 10 years.

“As of now, we have as small as three acres (1.21ha) of land, up to 10 acres. For the new policy, we are requesting a minimum of 10 acres for each project from the state government,” she added.

She said the ministry will conduct feasibility studies related to the sites proposed by each state. Zuraida said there is also a need to formulate a realistic threshold as an affordable home in Pahang is priced significantly lower than the same home in Kuala Lumpur.

“Therefore, there is an importance to collectively come up with a threshold for affordable homes based on a regional mechanism,” she said.

The ministry retains its original suggestion to cap the national threshold at RM300,000 per home. Meanwhile, Zuraida said the ministry is also expected to incorporate all property data from various parties to prevent similar occurrences.

“Although we do have projection figures by each state, such as the demands, it might not be that accurate because I may not take into the consideration of other sources such as from the private entities.

“I hope to corporate everything, so we can obtain at least between 70% and 80% of precise data, which will help us to solve the mismatch of the supply and demand issue,” she added.