The Star , Photo Credit to The Star
clock 19-11-2018
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Nod for National Housing Policy

The National Housing Policy has been approved by the Cabinet two weeks ago, said National Housing Department director-general N. Jayaselan, and its main thrust is the separation of public and private housing, with an emphasis on renting.

He said the thrust of the policy is looking at housing holistically, but there are instances where issues are looked at in a piecemeal manner and this may be unavoidable.

"We have put forward a Public Housing Management Act, for example, because we think the management of public housing will be a huge bombshell.

"So the issue today is more than just whether a buyer has the capability to pay the downpayment of a house. It is also whether he can finance the loan and whether he can pay for the house's monthly maintenance," Jayaselan said at Rehda Selangor Housing Convention.

Besides the separation of public and private housing, the other thrust of the policy is the formation of the tenancy act.

Jayaselan said the government wanted to promote "social renting" where the tenant first rent public housing before moving into what he calls "social ownership" of public housing and over a period of time, if affordability and his savings permit, he then moves into "private renting".

"And here is where private housing by private developers come in and the next step-up for him is "private ownership," he said.

Helping to guide the person along will be the rent-to-income ratio, median house price-to-income ratio and the last being mortgage repayment-to-income ratio.

Briefly, he said the ministry has five areas of focus, 16 strategies and 57 action plans, with the first focus on providing good quality housing. At whatever price, it has to have quality. Towards this end, there has to be some standardisation.

Earlier, Jayaselan said two out of six agencies have decided not to come under the Housing and Local Government Ministry, these being UDA Holdings Bhd and the Federal Territories Affordable Housing (RumahWIP).

UDA has returned to the ambit of the Entrepreneurial Development Ministry because of its bumiputra objective and RumahWIP, which is built on private land and private developers, is back under the Federal Territory Ministry.

"But they will follow the standard guidelines provided by us," Jayaselan said.

Earlier in July, soon after the Pakatan Harapan victory, six agencies were put under the Housing Ministry to streamline and make the provision of public housing more efficient.

Besides UDA and the provider of RumahWIP, the other four were 1Malaysia People's Housing Scheme (PR1MA), Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd, Housing Programme for Hardcore Poor (PPRT) and the 1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing (PPA1M).

Separately, in a press conference, Selangor Housing Development Management and Urban Living chairperson Haniza Talha said the state government and Rehda Selangor are on the same page with regards to the crowdfunding and peer-to-peer initiative announced by the government in the recent budget.

Both are awaiting Securities Commission guidelines on the matter. As a result of the new initiative, other alternatives to help buyers have cropped up, Haniza said.

The state government is in the final stage of working with a bank to help buyers finance housing via a traditional mortgage plan.

She said the state is thinking of various ways to increase house ownership, most of which involved a finance slant although there are some focus on lowering house prices.

"We are looking at helping potential buyers with financing but we are also looking at bringing down prices," she said.

Haniza said there are potential buyers who want to get financing while there are those who are seeking lower prices, so it is a "two-prong approach" taken by the state.

Towards this end, a task force is expected to be formed by the end of this year, she said.

As for the Home Ownership Campaign proposed by the federal government, Rehda Selangor chairman Zulkifly Garib said it has been targeted for January 2019.

The state authorities and the different state Rehda organisations are working towards that date, said, Zulkifly.

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