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Wish list to new housing minister

SidersChang

PETALING JAYA (June 29): The National House Buyers’ Association (HBA) hopes that the new Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar will encourage greater home ownership.

HBA secretary-general Chang Kim Loong wants the new minister to come up with more comprehensive measures towards home ownership for genuine homebuyers.

To help the working class own homes, affordable housing must be built in strategic locations and priced not more than RM300,000, he said. They must also be limited to first-time homebuyers only, Chang said in response to Noh’s appointment.

Noh was named Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister following a Cabinet reshuffle on June 27. The former Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister replaces Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan who is now Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department overseeing the Economic Planning Unit.

HBA also urged the new minister to speed up the process of the mandatory implementation of the build-then-sell (BTS 10:90) scheme.

The association also voiced its concern over a previous proposal to set up a Housing Guarantee Corporation (HGC) purportedly to protect buyers and housing developers in the event of abandonment of housing projects, which might be seen as a “licence” for developers to recklessly launch new housing projects in huge volumes regardless of their viability.

Meanwhile, the Association of Valuers, Property Managers, Estate Agents & Property Consultants in the Private Sector Malaysia (PEPS) president Datuk Siders Sittampalam said he is positive that the new housing minister would continue the government’s efforts to bring more vibrancy to the property sector while ensuring the rights of homebuyers are protected.

“We look forward to the arrival of the new housing minister and his new plans. We hope to see more policies and decisions that will benefit the property market,” he said.

He also hopes that the registration criteria for real estate valuers will be broadened to include other real estate-related professions such as engineers and architects. 

Datuk Seri Fateh Iskandar Mohamed MansorOn the other hand, the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association of Malaysia (Rehda) hopes the new minister could take a more flexible and balanced approach when dealing with housing issues, especially in controlling household debt yet not discouraging people from owning their first homes.

“In order to encourage home buyers to take the first step on the home ownership ladder, there should be some financial schemes or packages designed to assist buyers at the early stage of purchase so as to ease the burden of house buyers having to service both their house rental and the loan interest during the construction period,” said its president Datuk Seri Fateh Iskandar Mohamed Mansor.

On the affordable housing issue, he suggested that developers should be relieved from the responsibility of providing low cost housing as he feels that such a task should be taken back by the government via a centralised body with statutory powers to build such homes.

“The distribution and re-sale of subsidised housing must be properly controlled so that the benefits are accorded to only the deserving parties. Moratorium must be imposed on the re-sale of subsidised housing to ensure that the pool of supply is adequate and buyers do not profit from such subsidised units,” he added.

Fateh also urged the minister to look into more practical and transparent guidelines to ensure a more consistent implementation of the bumiputera quota policy and its release mechanism.

Rehda also hoped that the government will reduce the processing period for approval of certain applications as a longer waiting time translates into higher holding cost for developers, which in turn increases the cost of doing business, he explained.

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