New affordable housing category in the works

High-rise housing blocks in Penang. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

PENANG is set to have a new category of affordable housing priced at RM100,000 for families with a combined income of not more than RM5,000 a month.

State housing committee chairman Datuk Seri Sundarajoo Somu said this new category of units measuring 750sq ft was meant to widen the spectrum of housing offers, especially for the middle-income group.

“It is still in the conceptualisation stage and we will have a clearer picture by November.

“We are discussing with developers and urban planners how to build such homes to give buyers the best value for their money,” he added.

Penang, at present, has five categories of affordable housing: Type A (RM42,000), Type B (RM72,500), Type C1 (RM150,000), Type C2 (RM200,000) and Type C3 (RM300,000).

Malaysians who are born in Penang or who live and work in the state and are also on its electoral roll must be below specific income levels to buy an affordable housing unit under the scheme.

Sundarajoo says the state was discussing with developers and urban planners how to build the homes in the new category.Sundarajoo says the state was discussing with developers and urban planners how to build the homes in the new category.

On the long-standing issue of high loan rejection rates faced by the B40 group, Sundarajoo said the state had been constantly working with banks to find solutions.

“It is not about loan security because the market value for the lowest category of affordable housing (RM42,000) now stands at RM150,000, so the collateral for loans is taken care of.

“But many B40 applicants do not have proper documents when applying for the loans and some don’t have formal jobs.

“In such cases, Penang’s Rent-to-Own model may be the best option for them,” he said.

Speaking at a recent press conference, Sundarajoo announced that the state housing board had set a charter to clear 1,000 affordable housing applications every two weeks to deal with the backlog which stood at 43,260 applications.

Part of the reason for the backlog, he said, was because only 7,646 (17.77%) had been actively updating their applications with the required documents.

“We are going on a roadshow soon to ensure applicants update their status so we can approve their applications,” he added.

Sundarajoo also announced new studio housing units for single folk.

“They are located at a 45-storey block with 250 flats measuring 500sq ft, and a 44-storey block with 250 three-room flats measuring 700sq ft for young families.

“This initiative will be undertaken by the Local Government Development Ministry with an allocation of RM100mil in Jelutong on the island,” he said.

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