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ACCCIM welcomes PM’s call to review affordable housing policy, says social housing is govt’s responsibility

Publish date: Sat, 03 Jun 2023, 07:04 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (June 3): The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) on Saturday (June 3) said it welcomed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s call for a review of the affordable housing policy, but reiterated that social housing programmes should be the responsibility of the government.

In a statement, the association said this review is long overdue as the delivery of affordable housing has caused free-market middle-income housing to become unaffordable.

“If this situation is not addressed, both affordable housing and free-market housing construction will be stymied and will lead to housing delivery [falling] below population growth and aggravate the shortages, leading to higher escalation of house prices; and also, the shortage of rental housing and exorbitant rentals [led] to the homeless situation in many supposedly developed countries and global cities,” said ACCCIM.

The association added that the current cross-subsidy model expecting middle-income house buyers to carry the subsidy burden is “totally inequitable”, and that the increasing quantum of subsidy has caused these middle-income houses to become unaffordable.

ACCCIM also proposed that social housing should only be for rental, with eligibility to be means-tested, and only be used as transit homes. The association said once the financial circumstances of these residents exceed the threshold set for mean-testing, these residents must move out to their own homes.

“Social housing for rentals should become the social housing stock of the nation to provide transit housing for the incoming deserving households. Social housing should not be sold,” the association said in the statement.

ACCCIM also said the notion that property developers bear the subsidy is incorrect as this is passed through in the pricing of free-market middle-income houses, resulting in middle-income house buyers carrying the subsidy burden.

The association also proposed that the government plans new towns targeting primarily for rental social and affordable housing.

“These new townships should be of adequate size to create a sustainable township ecosystem that attracts industries, commerce activities and creates employment opportunities for the residents.

“Planned with public transportation connectivity and community services, residents of these new towns are also able to seek employment farther afield,” said ACCCIM.

During the handing over of keys to the Madani Dalur housing for civil servants in Putrajaya on June 1, Anwar said he had called on the local government development ministry to review conditions set for housing developers to ensure that they provide affordable housing for all mega projects developed.

He said this was necessary as the requirement for these projects to include at least 30% of affordable housing was not followed according to the schedule and scale set.

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