Solve the real lack of affordable homes

The recently formed cabinet committee to approve luxury residential developments should instead spend their precious time and efforts to grow the supply of affordable homes to cater to the middle class.

The flip flop on the ban of new residential developments costing over RM1million is distracting from the real problem, that is to solve the unaffordability of housing for the middle class and poor [1].

In the latest development, a cabinet level committee comprising of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan and Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof will deliberate the applications by developers to build luxury residential units over RM1million.

Many policy questions that affect the quantity and quality of affordable housing are within the purview of these very 5 ministers. Such a committee is better served spending their time solving and promoting initiatives that can lead to better housing for the middle class and the lower income groups.

Policy questions that Malaysia needs to improve on should be dealt with by this committee, such as

  • promoting rent to own;
  • improving access to finance for first time home owners;
  • creating financial incentives for developers to construct apartments below RM250,000 within urban areas;
  • limiting each person or married couple to only own one affordable home;
  • assisting families in financial trouble and are temporarily unable to service their housing loan;
  • Ensuring sufficient foreign worker dormitories, thus reducing the crowing out or competition in the low cost and medium cost housing rental arena;
  • ensuring that all affordable home schemes, PPR, low cost and medium cost apartments are well maintained, as to encourage Malaysians to be comfortable living in them.

Its time that the cabinet and especially these 5 ministers focus on improving housing for all, rather than deal with the profitability of a selected group of high end developers.

Rajiv Rishyakaran
DAPSY National Treasurer & SA for Bukit Gasing
Media statement by Rajiv Rishyakaran in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 19th December 2017