KL’s low-cost housing system needs revamp, says adviser

KUALA LUMPUR (June 11): Kuala Lumpur City Hall advisory board member Datuk P. Gunaseelan is calling for an overhaul of the city's low-cost housing unit assignment system.

He told The Star Online that a point system was currently in operation, with 100 being the highest and priority given to people with 70 points or more.

“It is high-time DBKL’s merit system for low-cost housing units is overhauled,” he told the portal.

“I have handled about 4,000 housing applications during my sessions at the MIC service centres as well as other government agencies and have noticed that demand exceeds supply.

“The number of people seeking low-cost government housing keeps increasing.

“At just one event, as many as 2,500 people turned up with various problems, the bulk of it being housing issues,” Gunaseelan said, adding that many have been on the DBKL waiting list for decades.

Gunaseelan added that he had dealt with people earning less than RM700, not to mention single mothers, all low down the merit-point scale.

At present the system selects suitable housing candidates based on several criteria including joint household income, commitments, number of children, age, health status, and date of registration, plus not owning a property within 35km of Kuala Lumpur.

Gunaseelan said there were almost 70,000 people on the waiting list.

“Even though there is a merit system in place and priority is given to single mothers, elderly and the disabled, political interference has resulted in some parties who are not high priority cases obtaining units before others who need them more.”

Gunaseelan used the case of a single mother-of-three earning RM700 a month but only given 42 points to highlight his point, adding that applications from disabled people should be fast tracked.

“Last week, I met two women who came to my service centre to apply for units.

"They were both blind and so I was surprised that they were only given 54 points.

“When I meet applicants who are paralysed and blind, I will try my best to help them obtain PPR units.

“There is no point in increasing their merit points because they might still have to wait several years for units.”

However, Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj, said that the problem was not with the current system, but the lack of suitable housing.

“There are simply not enough units to go around.

“It is time that the government looks at building more affordable housing with ample infrastructure for the poor,” he said.

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