KUALA LANGAT: It is crucial for the federal and state governments to combine forces to unlock land at suitable locations to build affordable homes, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Prime Minister said this was because housing had been implemented in a fragmented way by federal, state and local governments or agencies.
“The housing projects are very much driven by the private sector.
“As a result, constraints exist in the form of supply and demand mismatch usually due to bad location, affordability levels and the need to manage profits against meeting the needs of the people,” Dr Mahathir said in his speech at the launch of Gamuda Bhd’s digital Industrialised Building System (IBS) in Banting yesterday.
Dr Mahathir said given this, the National Housing Policy from 2018 to 2025 would focus on social housing issues at the local community level, especially in low-cost stratified housing areas nationwide, under the coordination of a centralised agency.
He said under the policy, it aimed to build up to 100,000 affordable homes capped at RM300,000 by the end of the year.
This, he added, was in line with the Pakatan Harapan government’s manifesto to construct one million affordable homes within the next decade.
“The B40 (bottom 40%) low income group and M40 (middle income group) are the main focus of the policy over the next five years,” said Dr Mahathir.
He said under the policy, developers would be guided to build quality and affordable homes for the B40 group.
“The specifications include build-ups of not less than 900 sq ft with the necessary amenities, facilities and infrastructure,” he said, adding that innovation and the digital technology would be the way forward to tackle the demands for affordable homes.
Dr Mahathir also said the use of IBS, which comprised Building Information Modelling (BIM), an online design tool in public housing projects, would help the government to meet its target of one million affordable homes.
“I was informed that the digital IBS provides an opportunity to upscale our local workforce for the future.
“Moving towards the digital IBS technology will enable developers to build cheaper homes in a shorter period of time,” he said.
Dr Mahathir added that the IBS was also less labour-intensive and would reduce the country’s dependency on foreign workers and yearly outflow of capital.
He said embracing digital IBS technology was timely as it was evolving with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the current trend of automation and manufacturing technologies that include cloud computing and BIM.
“For that, Gamuda Bhd should be commended for investing more than RM500mil in the two state-of-the-art factories, the latest one which we are here today,” said Dr Mahathir.
Gamuda’s IBS 27ha plant integrates online design tools, BIM platform with state-of-the-art robotic machines for construction.
The plant is also Malaysia’s first robotics IBS factory that uses digital technology to build homes.
In 2016, Gamuda launched a similar factory in Sepang.
Also present during yesterday’s launching were Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar, who is also the Kuala Langat MP, Deputy Works Minister Mohd Anuar Mohd Tahir, Gamuda Bhd director Raja Datuk Seri Eleena Sultan Azlan Shah and Gamuda Bhd group managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling.