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Public Housing Programme to emphasise green features

PETALING JAYA: Simple green features such as rain water harvesting and designs that enable natural cooling of a building will be included in the future development of houses under the government's Public Housing Programme (Program Perumahan Rakyat), said Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Wira Chor Chee Heung.

He also did not rule out the possibility of local authorities making it compulsory for private developers to include green features in their projects. Chor was commenting on incoroprating green features in government-built housing during a press conference after officiating the Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association Malaysia Youth Body (Rehda Youth) Green Tour on Tuesday, March 1.

He praised Rehda and Rehda Youth for taking the initiative to promote green building development.

"If more and more developers follow, then we do not need local authorities to impose compulsory measures,” said Chor.

Rehda president, Datuk Michael Yam however stressed that market forces need to be acknowledged before even considering making green buildings mandatory like in Singapore.

"Developers can build anything with the latest technology but the people must be willing to pay a little extra for such features," said Yam who estimated an incremental cost of between 5% to 10% for a green development.

"All things should be market driven. If people want green, we can build green but to say everything must be green, then we are ignoring market forces," added Yam.

On a separate matter, Chor said households will have to start sorting their waste once the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Act is implemented sometime in the next two months.

However, fines will not be imposed for the first two years.

"We need a bit of time to convince and educate the people before the Act is enforceable. Educational initiatives through roadshows, presentations at various schools aided by non-government organisation will be conducted to bring home the message," said Chor. The implementation of the Act will coincide with the signing of the concession agreement to privatise the management of solid waste.

The three companies — E-Idaman Sdn Bhd (northern states), Alam Flora Sdn Bhd (middle states) and Southern Waste Management Sdn Bhd (southern states) — were awarded the contract 13 years ago through public tender.

"These companies were promised a concession agreement back then but it never materialised. Up till now, they have been operating on an interim basis. Now, a long-term contract of more than 20 years will be awarded to them," said Chor.

He urged the public to be patient, as once the agreement is signed, new Key Performance Indicators will be set into place to ensure proper management by these companies.

The Act is not applicable to Sabah and Sarawak as both states have their own regulations, Chor added.

(From left) Ken Holdings Bhd executive director Sam CS Tan, Yam and Chor at the ceremony. Photo: Mohd Izwan Mohd Nazam

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