Sunday, December 4, 2011

30% allocation for Housing Developers in Sabah to build low-cost housing is for the good of the people, Hajiji Noor

The proposed requirement for housing developers in Sabah to allocate 30% of their new housing projects for low-cost housing is for the good of the majority of the people, Local Government and Housing Minister, Datuk Hj Hajiji Hj Noor stated on 29th November 2011.

“As a responsible and caring government, we have the duty to look after the interest of the majority,” he said in a statement, in reply to Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Shareda) president Datuk Susan Wong.

Yesterday on 28 November 2011, Susan said Shareda strongly objected to the proposal, saying that it will add to development cost and in the process increase prices of medium cost and above houses.

Announcing the proposal in the State Assembly recently, the Minister explained that the move was to enable the lower income group to own houses in the urban areas.

“This is the voice of the people, what the people want to see, as reflected in the suggestion made by a State Assemblyman. I was merely responding to the wishes of the people,” he added in his statement.

On the contention by Susan that the move will increase development cost, Hajiji said may be it is about time that housing developers play a greater part in fulfilling their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) rather than just profit-making.

“Give some back to society. Where there is a will, there is a way. The Wah Mie Group has shown that it can be done when they incorporated low-cost housing into their Sepanggar housing development and the government appreciates it,” he pointed out, describing Wah Mie as a good corporate citizen.

Susan had also said that the government-owned Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority (LPPB) should focus on building low-cost houses. To this, the Minister assured that the focus of LPPB is still on low-cost housing which is heavily subsidised by the government.

“Due to influx of rural folks into the major towns, low-cost housing built by the government is never enough. We need the co-operation of the private sector,” he stressed.

Responding to Federal Deputy Housing Minister Datuk Lajim Ukin’s remarks that the Sabah government should not rush into implementing the proposal, Hajiji said he found it puzzling as the policy was nothing new and had already been successfully implemented at the national level.

“As the deputy minister in charge of housing, I think he knows the background of this policy,” Hajiji concluded.

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