Zuraida Kamaruddin

PUTRAJAYA (June 26): Housing and Local Government Minister (KPKT) Zuraida Kamaruddin said the ministry will be working with the Sarawak government to solve housing issues in the state.

"Although the Sarawak state government is not part of the Pakatan Harapan, but we will still be working together with the authority of the state, [who] is willing to work together with us, especially [on] the housing projects in Sarawak," she told reporters at a weekly press conference at the KPKT office here today.

She added that following the meeting with chief minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg recently, she discovered that there are about 5,000 squatters in Sarawak and about 75,000 low cost houses needed in the state.

Meanwhile, Zuraida reiterated that the ministry will establish a committee for the redevelopment of the Highland Towers site to review and investigate the area and explore actions that should be taken to revive the project.

"The Highland Towers site is located on premium land within the border of KL, so it should be revived as soon as possible instead of leaving it there," she said.

She recalled that when she was still the MP of Ampang, she tried to solve the issues haunting the Highlands Towers with all the relevant agencies, but there was no outcome because "there are a few missing links and information that we don't know where to get that from".

She cited that one of the missing links is the list of buyers of the Highland Towers. "There are buyers who are making claims from the developer, so I asked for the list of buyers from the bank. I was surprised to find out that the bank that gave loans to the buyers has no information of the list of the buyers. So, it was stuck at that time as I couldn't go further."

"Having this position in the ministry and the local government, I would like to open up this case at a national level, so that all the agencies that are responsible for the Highland Towers case could [come together] and resolve the issues [surrounding the project] so that we can look forward to develop this piece of land," she elaborated.

She noted that if the move leads to a solution where KPKT can acquire the land, the ministry will do so and use the site to carry out housing developments for the rakyat, especially the B40.

The committee will be headed by KPKT secretary-general Datuk Haji Mohammad Mentek and involve agencies, such as Ministry of Finance, Selangor state government, Ministry of Works and Ampang Jaya Municipal Council.

She also added that a committee will be formed to examine the existing policies to revive abandoned projects in the country and speed up the timeframe of reviving them.

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