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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Keep politics off affordable housing schemes

It would appear that demand for super high-end homes is showing absolutely no sign of abating. YTL Land & Development issued a press release that its Grove at Lake Fields project in Sungai Besi, from a starting price of RM1.8mil, has been snapped up by eager buyers ahead of its launch.

Maybe its the name of the developer that led to a such a reception towards its project.

YTL has certainly created a reputation for itself in the property market with buyers appreciating the quality of the houses it builds.

But its that kind of mismatch that has created somewhat an imbalance in the supply of property especially in the major markets natiowide like Kuala Lumpur.

With economic activity chugging away and jobs still being created, more so when economic programmes by the Government start to see more investment and employment being created throughout the country, demand for housing in the hot markets will be on the rise.

Unfortunately, most of the homes being launched are beyond the reach of many Malaysians, especially those who are early in their careers, and the gap is set to widen as a larger percentage of Malaysians enter the age of employment year after year.

Given the penchant for developers to reap as much profit from their landbank, the vast majority of Malaysians will be priced out and just cannot afford to shell out that kind of money to buy a house, regardless of how big or how good the developer is, and at the same time keep up with the escalating cost of living.

It therefore comes to no one's surprise that the Government is now looking to step in and fulfil that demand gap by coming up with two affordable housing schemes ranging between RM100,000 and RM300,000 for Malaysians who do not yet own a home.

Both those schemes which will cater for households earning under RM3,000 a month and RM6,000 a month, which together would form the bulk of Malaysians today.

It was revealed that a portion of the redevelopment of the old Sungai Besi airport development which is called Bandar Malaysia would be carved out to build affordable homes for Malaysians.

Similar projects are being hatched in other areas where the Government owns land and eventually, such schemes would require the support of all parties including state governments as more projects are built throughout the country.

But the building of affordable home should not be subject to partisan politics. The last thing people would want is politicians trying to gain mileage at the expense of people's welfare.

It is also worth watching the impact of new public affordable housing on the price of comparably priced houses currently in the secondary market, which is there but not in the choice locations.

Deputy news editor Jagdev Singh Sidhu misses eating tasty food that is bad for your body.

By The Star (by Jagdev Singh Sidhu)

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