THE Malaysian housing industry has also evolved over time.Pursued by rising costs and inflation, demand has increased for affordable housing and residential estates which cater to middle and lowerincome families. The government is driving selected developers to address this issue. For affordable housing will also improve the common man's lifestyle, ultimately stimulating the national economy.
PROGRESS AND DEVELOPMENT
Low-cost housing was available since the implementation of the First Malaysia Plan (1966-1970). There have been many housing policies and plans established - pre and post independence. While in the early years, the main concern was to simply provide cheap housing as a basic social need, many housing and economic policies have been drawn up since, each conceived on a variety of different rationales and principles. The National Housing Policy (NHP) was launched in Feb 2011. It was established in accordance with the direction of the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP). The NHP comes under the purview of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (MHLG). Its goal is to provide adequate, comfortable, quality and affordable housing to enhance the sustainability of the quality of life of the people.
The key objectives of the NHP are:
• to provide adequate and quality housing with comprehensive facilities and a conducive environment;
• to enhance the capability and accessibility of the people to own or rent houses; and
• to establish future direction to ensure the sustainability of the housing sector.
To help achieve these objectives, six thrusts were formulated:
Thrust 1: Provision of Adequate Housing Based on the Specific Needs of Target Groups
Thrust 2: Improving the Quality and Productivity of Housing Development
Thrust 3: Increasing the Effectiveness of Implementation and Ensuring Compliance of the Housing Service DeliverySystem
Thrust 4: Improving the Capability of the People to Own and Rent Houses
Thrust 5: Sustainability of the Housing Sector
Thrust 6: Enhancing the Level of Social Amenities, Basic Services and Liveable Environment.
The government has introduced several strategies and programmes to encourage home ownership across the spectrum of income brackets and societal segments.
An excerpt from the NHP states that: Housing is a basic need and in line with "shelter for all", the government will strive to ensure that every person can own or rent a house. Nevertheless, housing needs for the low-income group, who earn a monthly household income of less than RM2,500 are still not adequate. Hence, the government and the private sector need to continue providing affordable houses for sale or rental, especially for the low-income group, and also the disabled, senior citizens and single mothers. The private sector is also encouraged to develop medium-cost houses to fulfill the needs of the middle-income group with a monthly household income of RM2,500 to RM3,999. To help improve the ability of the people to own or rent a house, the government has outlined three policy statements in the NHP.
• 4.1 - Setting prices for low-cost houses as well as controlling ownership and sales to avoid speculation;
• 4.2 - setting a realistic rental rate for lowcost houses; and
• 4.3 - providing financial support for the low-income group in order to own houses.
There are a few government adopted schemes that have been established to accommodate the need for low-cost houses. One such, in line with the 10th Malaysia Plan, is the People's Housing Programme (PPR). This scheme catered to provide low-cost homes built by the MHLG. These residences were about 700 sf and consisted of three bedrooms and two baths, a kitchen, tiled floors and an area for drying clothes. Facilities such as community halls, children's playgrounds, kindergartens, shops, stalls, suraus and other public places for residents to enjoy enhanced and healthy living were included in the area. Under this programme, 65 housing projects were delivered, for sale and/or rent, throughout the nation, right up to Sabah and Sarawak. These homes were catered to families earning less than RM2,500 a month. They were built mainly to provide squatters with permanent homes that were more comfortable, relaxed and in a healthier environment, and to raise the level of Malaysian society in line with the government's vision 2020. Since 2010, the government has been urging the private sector to build more low and low/medium-cost homes to accommodate lower-income groups. It aims to provide Malaysians of all income levels the ability to own a home, apart from enhancing the lifestyles of the urban population. A press statement released by the National Housing Department (Jabatan Perumahan Negara -JPN) under the Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government (Kementerian Kesejahteraan Bandar, Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan) reported that the MyHome Scheme launched on Apr 1, 2014 has since received 51,859 applications requesting for low-cost houses in these areas:
Today, the criteria for eligibility in owning or renting a low-cost house have been revised in accordance with the growing economy and advanced times. Follow our column in the coming weeks about the various affordable home schemes and programmes available.
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