Housing Ministry studying proposal on building affordable houses

KUCHING: The Ministry of Housing is studying the proposal brought forward by the Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Sheda) to build affordable houses.

Its minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said his ministry is currently working on a solution for the construction of affordable houses which could be beneficial to all parties especially housebuyers.

“We are studying the proposal (for the building of affordable houses). At the same time, we also have our own counter proposal,” he said in his reply to Sheda’s president Joseph Wong request in seeking a feedback on the building of affordable houses during the opening on Sheda Property Expo 2015 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here yesterday.

“There should be a compromise between our proposal and your (Sheda’s) proposal. At the end of the day, housebuyers will benefit from this.

“I am confident that in the next two months, we will reach a solution.

“(Therefore), next year, we will be able to start developing affordable houses Abang Johari noted the affordable housing segment is one of largest segments in the property market which has big potential to be developed.”

Earlier, Wong in his speech said the association has submitted a proposal for the building of affordable houses in Sarawak known as Sheda Affordable Housing Sheme to the relevant authorities.

Sheda’s members have committed to build 10,000 units of those houses throughout Sarawak in Kuching, Kota Samarahan, Sibu, Bintuluk and Miri over the next five years.

Wong believed through the affordable housing scheme, many members of the public who have previously been disqualified from or unable to purchase a house will be able to purchase their first home under the affordable housing scheme.

He said if the proposal is approved, it is estimated that the state’s economy will be injected with a total gross development value (GDV) of RM2.5 billion in the next five years.

Wong added the state and federal revenue will benefit from council assessments, quit rent, land premiums and Goods and Services Tax (GST) which the developers will have to absorb.

He further noted numerous projects undertaken will increase local employment for Sarawakians within their own hometowns or in nearby cities.

On another note, he urged local property developers to select Malaysian-made building materials to avoid higher cost of construction given the challenging economic situation in particular the devaluation of the ringgit.

Wong observed as fuel prices have been lowered by 15 to 20 per cent in the last few months, building materials that depend on land and sea transportation should also be adjusted accordingly.

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