Govt : Affordable homes to be capped below RM300,000

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE government is expected to put a cap on affordable homes at RM300,000 for units with a minimum of 900 sq ft, to provide more opportunities for the bottom 40% (B40) income group to own properties and enjoy a better living.

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the breakdown and guidelines of the schemes offered under the framework would be made available in the National Affordable Housing Policy (NAHP), which is slated to be launched by the end of this month.

“The prices (and built-up area) would be defined based on the median income of the people in the particular area.

“Surely, the median income for those in Kuala Lumpur would not be the same as those in rural areas,” she told a press conference after delivering the 2019 New Year’s message for the Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) staff in Putrajaya yesterday.

The NAHP, a sub-policy from the revamped National Housing Policy 2.0, will be overseen by the National Affordable Housing Council (NAHC). The council is chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The formation of NAHC was proposed in Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto for the 14th General Election, with the aim of building one million affordable houses in 10 years.

The council — comprising representatives from nine ministries, the Public Works Department and housing agencies under the jurisdiction of KPKT — held its first annual meeting last Tuesday.

The affordable homes to be offered by NAHP are expected to provide a better space and basic facilities for the lower income group, so that they could enjoy a better living.

Zuraida said currently, the built-up area of affordable homes is set at a minimum of 700 sq ft which is not “liveable”.

She said the definition of an affordable housing scheme was determined based on data gathered by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

“The central bank studies stated that those who earn RM3,000 and below, or the B40 group, could own a house from RM169,000, and they could afford to pay a monthly instalment of between RM500 and RM600.

“As such, backed by this guideline, we decided to come out with the affordable housing policy,” she said.

Zuraida added that KPKT would also discuss with BNM to loosen up financial requirements to allow members of the public to secure loans.

“The government will also build sample houses based on the schemes to assist them in choosing their desired house,” she said.

Zuraida also said the NAHP would complement the upcoming National Community Policy to help the B40 group to improve their livelihood.

“If we do not help these people, the gap between those in the B40 and other (income) brackets would be widened, and it is not healthy for the nation.

“So, it is our task to help them to improve their quality of life,” she added.