Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quality and affordable homes

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will build 78,000 new affordable public housing units nationwide under the 10th Malaysia Plan.

Low-cost public housing units would be provided to qualified individuals and families with household incomes of less than RM2,500 per month, which was in line with the government's agenda to increase the monthly income
level of the bottom 40%.

The government typically subsidises approximately 30% to 75% of total CONSTRUCTION [] costs for public housing units.

Under the public housing schemes provided by the National Housing Department, a 700 square foot urban low-cost housing unit is sold for RM42,000 to qualified families and individuals.

According to the report, the government will rationalise and streamline the role of federal agencies involved in public housing to increase the efficiency of housing provision.

The government will rationalise housing provision with only one federal agency responsible for the provision of federal-funded housing with the private sector being expected to play a greater role in these efforts.

To address the issue of poor housing maintenance, the government will establish a Housing Maintenance Fund with an initial funding of RM500 million to assist the residents of both public and private low-cost housing units with major repair and maintenance works like replacement of lifts and water tanks.

It said the fund would be based on a matching grant where half of the contribution would come from residents through their joint-management body or management corporation.

This is in addition to the fund known as "Tabung Perumahan 1Malaysia", established in February this year, which provides support for the maintenance'' and major repairs of low-cost private housing in Kuala Lumpur.

During the Plan period, existing laws, including the Uniform Building By-Laws 1984, will be reviewed to incorporate minimum specifications of housing quality, particularly on ensuring quality in the provision of affordable homes.

The report also said that the government would review tax incentives, such as tax breaks for buildings and designs that are environmentally friendly, incorporating green design elements like solar panels for heating, rain water harvesting facilities and water conservation features.

There will also be focus on creating public community spaces within housing projects that a well-landscaped and equipped with basic amenities, such as parks and playgrounds, to reinforce interaction and integration among local communities.

In cultivating a healthy and sustainable housing industry, the government will encourage urban rejuvenation through an en-bloc sale mechanism.

The government will implement a mechanism to ease the sale of collectively-owned developments by amending laws governing the sales of property and land to allow collective sale of PROPERTIES [], including land,'' when majority
consent is obtained or an en-bloc sale mechanism.

The appropriate level of majority consent will be determined from at least 80% to 90% of owners agreeing to a sale.

This would create market incentives for private redevelopment of aging properties in prime locations, the report said.

Apart from that, the government will strengthen monitoring and enforcement to protect the interests of house buyers, especially on quality of housing construction.

The report also said that housing developers would be encourage to adopt the Build-Then-Sell (BTS) approach through the provision of additional incentives such as shortening the approval processes for land and building plans and exemption of deposit payments for licensing housing developments.

On abandoned housing projects, the government will continue to provide assistance to rehabilitate the projects where as of April 30 this year, there were 107 abandoned projects with 38,600 units involving 25,300 buyers. - Bernama

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