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Malaysia has made impressive strides in this effort with the provision of affordable housing playing a key role in supporting successful efforts of poverty eradication.

From 1990 to 2009, about 808,000 units of low-cost affordable housing were provided to support Malaysians in need with approximately 128,000 of these built during the Ninth Plan period.

It is one of Malaysia’s longstanding development objectives is the provision of affordable housing for Malaysians in both rural and urban areas, with focus on lower-income groups.

Today, the housing issue for Malaysia is about ensuring there are enough houses for various segments of society.

It is also about having houses in a safe, healthy and comfortable built environment befitting the socio-economic status of the country.

During the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP) period, a total of 78,000 units of new affordable public housing will be constructed by the Federal Government across the nation.

Low-cost public housing units will be provided to qualified individuals and families with household income levels of less than RM2, 500 per month.

The Government typically subsidises approximately 30% to 75% of total construction costs for public housing units.

To increase the efficiency of housing provision, the Government rationalise and streamline the role of several federal agencies involved in public housing to only one federal agency responsible for the provision of federally funded housing, with the private sector being expected to play a greater role in these efforts.

To address the issue of poor housing maintenance, the Government will establish a Housing Maintenance Fund with an initial funding of RM500 million to assist the residents of both public and private low-cost housing units.

The fund will be used for major repair and maintenance works such as the replacement of lifts and water tanks.

This fund will be based on a matching grant where half of the contribution comes from residents through their joint management body or management corporation.

This is in addition to the fund known as Tabung Perumahan 1Malaysia, established in February 2010 that provides support for the maintenance and major repairs of low-cost private housing in Kuala Lumpur with contributions from the Government and a number of large private corporations.

During the 10MP period, existing laws, including the Uniform Building By-Laws 1984, will be reviewed to incorporate minimum specifications of housing quality, particularly on ensuring quality in the provision of affordable housing developments.

Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) entrusted to encourage housing providers to be accredited, particularly for the usage of skilled and qualified labour and improved construction processes.

The Government will review tax incentives, such as tax breaks for buildings and designs that are environmentally friendly, incorporating green design elements like solar panels for heating, rain water harvesting facilities and water conservation features.

Environmentally friendly townships and neighbourhoods will be encouraged through the introduction of Green Guidelines and a Green Rating System.

Putrajaya and Cyberjaya will be the flagship Green Townships.

There will also be focus on creating public community spaces within housing projects that are well-landscaped and equipped with basic amenities, such as parks and playgrounds, to reinforce interaction and integration among local communities.

In order to encourage the development of public spaces, the Government will support local authorities in creating a seamless network of interconnected green spaces within the cities, connecting major activity hubs and housing sites, and be equipped with facilities such as amphitheatres, cycling and pedestrian pathways and other amenities.

Companies will be encouraged to provide support in the establishment and maintenance of green spaces as part of their corporate social responsibility programmes.

The Government will implement mechanism to ease the sale of collectively-owned developments by amending laws governing the sales of property and land to allow collective sale of properties, including land, when majority consent is obtained, or an en-bloc sale mechanism.

This will create market incentives for private redevelopment of aging properties in prime locations.

At the same time, Government are strengthening monitoring and enforcement regulation to protect the interests of house buyers, especially on quality of housing construction.

Housing developers are encourage to adopt the Build-Then-Sell (BTS) approach through the provision of additional incentives such as shortening the approval processes for land and building plans and exemption of deposit payments for licensing housing developments.

For this purpose, Islamic banks have agreed to provide shariah-compliant financing and undertake construction risks, with instalments only commencing after the house is completed.

This scheme will be implemented for houses costing RM600, 000 and below.

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Abstract: Reviewed Housing Policy Ensuring Quality of Affordable Housing Developments

Malaysia has made impressive strides in this effort with the provision of affordable housing playing a key role in supporting successful efforts of poverty eradication.

From 1990 to 2009, about 808,000 units of low-cost affordable housing were provided to support Malaysians in need with approximately 128,000 of these built during the Ninth Plan period.

It is one of Malaysia’s longstanding development objectives is the provision of affordable housing for Malaysians in both rural and urban areas, with focus on lower-income groups.

-SNASH-

(this article published in 1BINA.my)