Government Will Review National Housing Policy

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 (Bernama) — The government has agreed to review the National Housing Policy, especially related to property prices, which was proposed be decided by the government, not just to market forces.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government via the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry could conduct prudent price control by taking into account certain elements such as location and type of house.

“This is logical not only in the interest of the members of Cuepacs (Congress of Unions for Employees in the Public and Civil Service), but the public too although they are outside the jurisdiction of Cuepacs, but I think Cuepacs represents 1.6 million civil servants.

“Coming up with such proposals is not aimed at rejecting market forces but, looking at prices going up at a rapid rate which rules out affordability of buyers, will result in the failure of the house ownership policy,” he told a media conference after opening the 2016 Civil Servants Housing Convention here, today.

Earlier, during the ceremony, Cuepacs president Datuk Azih Muda in his welcoming speech had suggested that the government review and revamp the National Housing Policy which was seen as no longer relevant especially to civil servants to own homes.

Azih also suggested several other proposals including asking the government to interfere in deciding on the prices of houses and wanted the government to set up a land bank and buy land in strategic areas for building the houses of civil servants in the future.

Azih also suggested that the government abolish the stamp duty charge imposed on civil servants buying their first house via the Public Sector Home Financing Board.

In his speech when opening the ceremony, Ahmad Zahid said it was very logical for the government to respond to all the proposals from Cuepacs in the interest of public servants to own homes.

He said that he would personally bring all the suggestions and views of Cuepacs to the Cabinet meeting next week for consideration.

Commenting further on the suggestions, Ahmad Zahid said it was apt to set up a land bank aimed at obtaining land in strategic areas to build houses for civil servants in the future.

The move, he said, also fulfilled the aspiration of the government to ensure 100 per cent of civil servants owned homes before they retired.

“In this matter, I support what was mentioned by Datuk Azih just now that the National Housing Policy is not so relevant currently, especially related to civil servants who cannot afford to purchase a home.

“I don’t want group B40 amd M40 to be seen as wearing a short sarong, pulling the bottom of the sarong reveals the upper portion, pulling the upper portion, one sees the lower portion..Don’t make civil servants wear short sarongs,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid urged the National Housing Department to quickly take action on 18 housing projects under its jurisdiction, most of which had been bought by civil servants including members of the Malaysian Armed Forces, which were abandoned.

He said the abandoned projects, including 12 in Kelantan, and had resulted in buyers being burdened because they were forced to pay the instalments for homes which they could not move into while paying rentals on their current accommodation.

“As such, we should not blame the government but we must see that the housing developers had failed to complete the houses and buyers are burdened as they have to pay the instalments and the costs of house rentals,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, urged buyers of houses at abandoned projects to unite and take legal action against the housing developers who failed to complete the projects.

The two-day Civil Servant Housing Convention organised by Cuepacs with the cooperation of the Malaysian National Cooperative Movement Bhd is being participated by 1,000 civil servants.

Themed ‘Dream Home Ensures Quality of Life,’ it is aimed at discussing issues, problems and challenges related to housing for civil servants and submitting the resolution to the government for solution.