LONGHOUSE residents in Kuala Lumpur are set to hit the jackpot, following the Government’s offer to sell them flats at a big discount.
Thousands of poverty-stricken families are set to benefit once the affordable housing initiatives are completed.
Among them are the first generation families from the former Bukit Kiara Estate relocated to longhouses in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI). They will be offered units in TTDI at just a fraction of the original price.
The smallest built-up of 800sq ft in TTDI today can easily fetch between RM900 and RM1,200 per sq ft. However, the Bukit Kiara longhouse residents will be able to buy their apartments at a 95% discount.
Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor told StarMetro that he was in the midst of negotiating the prices for low and medium-cost houses with developers for long-time squatters who lived in transit homes for decades.
A total 1,445 units measuring 700 to 800sq ft, each with three bedrooms and two toilets, will be sold to these families.
Areas where the upcoming units are located include Kepong, Bandar Tun Razak, Segambut and Cheras. Prices will be set below the RM50,000 mark, with units in some areas possibly going for as low as RM28,000.
Tengku Adnan said the price range would vary around RM28,000, RM35,000, RM42,000 and RM45,000 depending on several factors which he declined to reveal.
However, going by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) rules on the sale of low-cost units like the People’s Housing Project (PPR), it is likely that a 10-year moratorium period will be imposed on the properties to deter the owners from selling their units.
Owners looking to sell their units at the end of the moratorium deadline have to write in to the Kuala Lumpur mayor to get permission to do so and this is subject to DBKL’s approval.
“Either way, it is a windfall for the new owners as the apartments are located in rapidly growing commercial areas,” said Shamini Store, a real estate agent.
“Take Jinjang Utara and Jinjang Selatan Tambahan, for example. Despite it being an old township, it is a mere 11km or 20 minutes’ drive to KLCC and KL Sentral.
“The smallest built-up of 800sq ft with no facilities in the township can range between RM350,000 and RM380,000.
“In Bandar Tun Razak and Cheras, the prices of residential units can be anything from RM300,000 to RM380,000, and this is also due to the location being a mature township,” she said.
In Taman Tun Dr Ismail, however, Store said the price of a similar-sized apartment can easily fetch RM900 to RM1,200 per sq ft if it was a normal condominium with facilities.
“The units are on land adjacent to Taman Rimba Kiara and that in itself is a goldmine,” she added.
Tengku Adnan said he was pushing developers to start their projects as soon as possible.
He said the project to build new homes for the former Bukit Kiara estate residents would start soon.
DBKL, he said, had already issued the development order (DO) to the project developer.
“The DO has been issued to Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan to build the one block of apartments for the (Bukit Kiara estate) residents, as well as eight blocks of high-end serviced apartments.
He said about 98 units would be given to the first-generation families at a very favourable rate that he negotiated for.
“We are also negotiating a reasonable rate for second-generation families to buy units as well,” he added.
The affordable units will be built first so that the families can resettle as soon as possible.
About 124 families, many of them descendents of rubber estate workers from the original Bukit Kiara Estate, were relocated to the TTDI longhouse 37 years.
The 991 families from the Jinjang Utara longhouse, on the other hand, are expected to move into their new abodes in a month or two. These families were relocated to transit homes in 1992.
“For Jinjang Utara residents, their offer letters will be ready soon and we expect to sign the MoU with DBKL and the Urban Wellbeing and Housing Ministry soon,” Tengku Adnan said.
He added that units would be sold to Jinjang Utara residents for RM35,000 in a rent-to-own scheme under the People’s Housing Project (PPR) called Seri Aman, which is located 500m from the longhouse.
Residents will get units measuring 720sq ft, with three rooms and two bathrooms.
Meanwhile, 200 units will be sold to residents of Ikan Emas longhouse in Bandar Tun Razak, after the redevelopment of the three low-cost flats – Sri Johor, Sri Pulau Pinang, Sri Melaka and the Taman Ikan Emas – are completed.
The project is part of the Government’s “Sustainable People Housing for Urban Renewal” project.
Tengku Adnan said once the project was completed, residents would move into units measuring 858sq ft at an affordable price.
The former longhouse residents of Jinjang Selatan Tambahan, who were relocated from their homes in 2011 to make way for a joint-venture mixed development project between DBKL and Zil Property Bhd, he said the 156 units for the residents had been sorted out.
“We are also negotiating a deal for Kampung Bukit Tangki Air in Cheras. It has been a big problem for us as these are all legacy issues from decades ago.
“Bear in mind these are squatters on government land; since it is government land, we are taking responsibilty to shift and house them in other government housing schemes while their units are being constructed.
“But our biggest concern are the 2,452 squatter families on private land, which is technically not our responsibility.
But as a responsible government, it is up to us to solve this problem,” he said.
He added that the relocation of various longhouse communities in the city were delayed for various reasons.
It was previously reported that the government was facing complications relocating residents of longhouses as the developers appointed had not implemented public housing projects as scheduled and the situation was compounded by residents rejecting offers to move into PPR.
Tengku Adnan elaborated that the government’s efforts to relocate squatters had been disrupted by joint ventures with the private sector that did not pan out.
He said numerous joint-venture projects were not implemented. As such, DBKL had taken some of the land back from the developers.
Some of the projects affected were Jalan Kolam Air, Taman Fadason and Sentul. Among the reasons given were that the developers faced financial constraints and that contractors appointed were not qualified
Tengku Adnan said there were 1,500 longhouses now and the Government was looking into resolving issues and relocating longhouse residents in areas such as Jinjang, Bukit Jalil and Bukit Kiara.
He gave assurance that the Government would fulfil its promise to prepare 50,000 houses in five to six years.
“At this point in time, it is crucial for the Government to expedite their move into affordable housing in the city,” he said.
The Government has been trying to clear squatters in the city since the 1980s.
DBKL conducted a survey back in 1998 and found that there were 197 squatter settlements in Kuala Lumpur occupying 645ha of land.
Between 1992 and 1998, there was a reduction of 32.4% in squatter population.
Many of them were relocated into PPRs, but thousands were also moved into transit homes in Segambut, Kepong, Setapak and Cheras. And they are still living there today.