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Monday, October 19, 2009

'Improve housing approval process'

The government should give incentives for first-time house buyers, review its policy on low-cost housing and improve the approval process, says YTL Land & Development Bhd.

These are some of the property developer's suggestions for the upcoming Budget 2010, which will be presented on Friday.

Currently, there are no incentives for first-time buyers although the industry has lobbied for it since last year.

Fiabci, an international real estate federation, has asked the government for grants of up to RM10,000.

YTL Land executive director Datuk Yeoh Seok Kian also held the view that the government should examine what he termed as unhealthy competition in the high-end residential market.
State firms like the Selangor State Development Corp (PKNS) are building houses priced at more than RM800,000 each.

He argued that PKNS should stick to providing social housing instead of competing with the private sector.

"This will certainly improve the overall well-being of deserving Malaysians faced with financial difficulties. A lot more can be provided for at the end of the day and the responsibility should not only fall on private developers," Yeoh told Business Times.

Under current policy, 30 per cent of a developer's residential project must be low-cost housing.

Yeoh also hopes that the government will improve the approval process for new development projects.

"This is one of the challenges we continue to face. While the government has acknowledged this as an issue with the set-up of the One-Stop Centre (OSC) in 2007, there should be better follow-through to ensure all parties are working towards the same intent," he said.

Yeoh said delays caused by unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy could be reduced with better enforcement and regulation.

"Ongoing reviews of policies can play a major role in helping the property sector stay robust and competitive," he added.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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