SHAREDA welcomes the National Budget 2018 in general, which was unveiled by YAB Prime Minister, Dato' Sri Najib Razak on Friday afternoon (27 October). The government is set to provide various incentives for industries and assistance to the low and middle-income earners to overcome the escalation of the cost of living in the country. On behalf of the SHAREDA members, SHAREDA President, Mr Chew Sang Hai shares some of the comments on the National Budget 2018. A. AFFORDABLE HOUSING MARKET 1. The government would spend RM2.2 BILLION for delivering affordable properties through government agencies. Together with the Private Developers in Malaysia, especially SHAREDA members, we are very confident that there would be an abundant supply of affordable housing to the Rakyat in Sabah. 2. To improve effective demand of the Rakyat, the Federal Government has extended the PR1MA Step-Up Finance to Private Developers. SHAREDA would like to express our sincere appreciation to our YAB Prime Minister for taking into consideration our grievances pertaining to the high rate rejection of housing mortgage loans matter. 3. In line with the Federal Government's policy, SHAREDA has also initiated the exploration with our local banking financier, Sabah Credit Corporation, to provide a short-term loan to eligible house-buyers as their down payment or shortfall in down payment. This alternate financing was initiated with the blessing from our YAB Chief Minister. 4. The lack of efficient public transportation, and poor infrastructure and limited accessibility has been one of the predicaments for the property development industry. However, we believed with the launching of Pan Borneo Highway and other infrastructures and improvement of the Public Transport, we are very confident that the demand of property would pick up soon. Furthermore, Sabahans are also anticipating and looking forward to the implementation of 1B BRT pledged and to place a light rail or tram line within the City. B. IMPROVEMENT OF PROPERTY INVESTMENT AND RENTAL MARKET SHAREDA is very much aware of the importance of the delivery of affordable rental housing besides HOME OWNERSHIP. Hence, SHAREDA welcomes the steps taken by the government to allow tax incentive of 50% rental collection. This incentive would allow a healthy rental investment of housing accommodation and encourage more LONG-TERM INVESTMENT flow into the property market. C. STAMP DUTY EXEMPTION The Federal Government also allows stamp duty exemption for all documents related to the abandoned project. The Sabah Government should take this opportunity to tackle the two (2) abandoned projects in Kota Kinabalu. D. SHAREDA'S STEP FORWARD Looking at the poor responses from Sabahan purchasers due to the lack of marketing and branding exposures in the past 2-3 years, SHAREDA looks forward to an elevated and improved property expo "PropEXâ€, and more collaboration and partnership efforts to be made with other organisations and media company to promote and heightened the awareness of affordable housing projects and schemes offered via various online advertising platforms, especially to the first time house buyers in Sabah.