KUALA LUMPUR: Some 100 people embroiled in housing issues across the country staged a street protest, demanding their right for proper housing.
Led by Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) Housing and Settlers bureau chief R. Karthiges, the group, comprising residents from Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Perak, Negri Sembilan and Penang, walked from Jalan Tun Perak to Jalan Bukit Bintang to mark World Habitat Day yesterday.
Karthiges said the price of houses, especially in urban areas, was beyond the reach of many, namely the B40 group (bottom 40% of households with a monthly income of RM3,900 and below).
“A house is a basic need. Many in the B40 category are earning about RM1,000 per month and cannot afford it,” he said.
PSM secretary-general A. Sivarajan said public housing sold for RM42,000 each now was mostly located in the outskirts.
“Previously, such houses were located in the city centre. Now, the locations (of them) are too far that will cause a great inconvenience.
“Many people involved in relocation projects are being displaced and this is a bad precedent.
“The middle-income group is also struggling to buy first homes.
“With a starting salary of RM3,000, they should rightfully use only RM1,000 to service their home loans every month, which translates to a house with about a RM150,000 price tag.
“The affordable homes are more than RM300,000, so this group is forced to rent a house for life,” he added.
Karthiges also urged the government to look into providing proper housing for estate workers who are forced to move out of their quarters after retirement, migrant workers, refugees and settlers facing eviction.
He also said many people failed to pay their home loans and had their houses seized by banks.
“Many people have lost their jobs and are unable to make the repayments. They are unable to restructure the loan repayments and do not have insurance to cover.
“The government must make sure that these options are available to all,” he added.
Karthiges also said those living in low-cost flats had to put up with badly maintained surroundings.
Rubbish collection and cleanliness are lacking as many residents cannot afford to pay the monthly maintenance fees to its Joint Management Body to hire cleaning contractors, he added.
“I hope the local authority or the Land Office will take the responsibility,” he said.
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