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Housing the nation

  • The government should put all subsidized housing projects under the jurisdiction of the housing and local government ministry and make it easier for people to secure housing loans.

Sin Chew Daily

Substandard housing and living environment has been an issue many Malaysians encounter, especially for the B40 group living in government flats in urban areas.

Due to their limited incomes, those in the B40 income bracket are unable to afford better housing options, but that does not mean they must put up with such deplorable living conditions.

Newly minted housing and local government minister Zuraida Kamaruddin pointed out during a recent interview with Sin Chew Daily that the government had the responsibility of improving the living conditions of these people.

This promise has come as a godsend especially to the B40 group, and it is hoped that the government will map out appropriate policies to help them improve the quality of their living environment as soon as possible.

Many in the B40 group are large families with many living in very tight space. Coupled with the unfriendly surrounding environment, this will not augur well for the healthy physical and mental development of these people, and may give rise to potential family problems and negative implications on community harmony.

The housing and local government ministry plans to increase the residential square footage of these flats so that residents can live more comfortably. However, this will also mean that the selling prices may be increased, making the units no longer affordable to some.

The authorities must therefore consider rationalizing government subsidies while not burdening further the government and the rakyat.

In the past the BN administration used to have plans to improve the housing issues faced by Malaysians but many remain skeptical whether such projects have really met the targets. The planning, construction and management of many housing projects of BN government were carried out separately by different departments, agencies or units, so that different communities could choose the types of residential units that suit their financial affordability and needs. The thing is, without standardized planning, management and project supervision, market confusion ensues.

Among the problems is that some people have bought subsidized housing units not for their own use but to be let out to foreigners, including foreign workers, for additional income. This has denied the right of those who really need to own their houses, not to mention the many social and environmental issues that may be caused by irresponsible foreign tenants, wasting the government government resources and jeopardizing the rights of Malaysians.

The housing and local government ministry has instructed government flat owners to stop renting out their units to foreigners or face stern action.

Additionally, it is imperative that the government puts all subsidized housing projects under the jurisdiction of the housing and local government ministry while allowing people from low- to medium-income groups to enjoy relaxed credit rating to secure bank loans so that all Malaysians can have a roof over their heads.



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