KUCHING: The Local Government and Housing Ministry is very serious about creating affordable housing and urban renewal, and will find a way to address it.
Its minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said that they realise many young people are struggling to find affordable housing, and that even though the country is doing well, the cost of living is another matter entirely.
"The housing industry is not going to get any cheaper and the challenge for policy makers like me is how to continue with affordable housing" he said during the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) Sarawak Branch annual dinner held at Sarawak Club on Saturday, 16 December.
Also present at the dinner were MIEA President (2017-2019) Eric Lim, MIEA Sarawak Branch Chairman (2015/2019) Dato Alex KK Ting, and members of the MIEA National Board of Directors.
The dinner was themed â€˜Don't Forget to Remember' and had around 300 guests.
"MIEA has been in existence for 37 years and has been helmed by many devoted people. Hence, it is our duty to build on the well laid foundations and to help MIEA continue to shine" said Ting.
He added that the Sarawak Branch saw an increase of 47 members in 2017.
"The most important thing this year was the amendment to Act 242, which will come into force on January 2 next year. This means that the Police and Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia (BOVAEA) can arrest/prosecute illegal brokers. Those prosecuted faces severe penalty, including jail sentence.â€
Ting added that according to Ministry of Finance, the total transactions for 2017 will be over 21,000.
"The residential property alone will be nearly 10,000 transactions. Kuching will have at least 4,200 properties sold.â€
Meanwhile, Lim said that MIEA expects the property market to be stable and growing moderately next year.
"Our economy is rather strong with a GDP of about 5.8 per cent and a very low unemployment rate of only 3.4 per cent.
"Real estate is the pillar of the national economy which contributes about 10 per cent of the GDP and involving 120 industries.â€
On the issue of Act 242, Lim said that members and practitioners have been complaining about the issue of illegal agency which has affected the industry and giving a bad name to the profession.
"I would like to appeal to those who operate illegally, to come forward and work with the registered firms before the police go after them. The penalty is a fine of up to RM300,000 or jail of up to three years or both.â€
He added that MIEA will be working closely with the Board and the Police on this aspect.
During the dinner, MIEA Sarawak Branch also honoured the winners of the MIEA National Real Estate Awards (NREA).
Kozin Real Estate was named Real Estate Firm of the Year (Sarawak) 2017, while State Real Estate Negotiator (REN) of the Year (Sarawak) 2017 is Wee Kui Ho.
MIEA also conferred the Fellowship Award to three of its members, namely Simon Hii Sing Sing of H Simon Real Estate Agency, Wong Ho Ming of Homing Real Estate Agency, and Aubrey Chan of Borneo Real Estate.