PASIR GUDANG: Johor will give more emphasis and focus on assisting the urban poor especially those living within Iskandar Malaysia economic growth corridor.
Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin said that the assistance comes through several initiatives and programmes such as providing affordable houses for eligible buyers from the low and the middle income groups.
He said providing the affordable houses for particularly the first time house buyers in the urban areas was the main focus that the state new administration had given after the 13th general election.
“Housing is always an issue in a big city like Johor Baru, and we want to make sure Johoreans are not deprived from owning their own houses,” said Mohamed Khaled.
He told reporters after presenting school aid including bicycles from Dialog Group Bhd to 250 pupils from poor families in the Pasir Gudang constituency here on Saturday.
Initially, Mohamed Khaled said the state government had targeted to provide 28,000 affordable houses in Johor of which 20,000 units to be built in Iskandar Malaysia within the next four to five years.
“However, we have to review the figure to about 37,000 units due to the overwhelming response for first time house buyers and they will be ready before 2018,” he said.
Under the state housing quota, developers are required to allocate 40% of the residential properties for low-cost, medium-cost and affordable houses prices below RM150,000 each as well as affordable shop lots.
Mohamed Khaled said the construction of the affordable houses was the responsibility of the state-linked companies and the private developers with the state government monitoring the project.
He said in order to allow more eligible first time house buyers in Johor to own affordable houses priced at RM150,00 each, the state government had increased the household monthly income from RM6,000 to RM8,000.
“The problem of urban poor in big cities in Malaysia is not something unusual, it happens in other parts of the world due to rapid urbanisation process,” added Mohamed Khaled.
He said assisting the urban poor did not fall solely on the Federal and state governments adding that the private sector also had a role to play.
Mohamed Khaled said the state government together with the private sector had also embarked on entrepreneurship programmes to encourage the urban poor to involve in businesses to supplement their income.