Affordable housing a priority on nation’s agenda

KATOWICE (Poland): Adequate and affordable housing programmes in Malaysia have been established and prioritised since the 1970s, and they remain high on the country’s agenda, said Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican.

At a ministerial roundtable of the 11th World Urban Forum (WUF11) here on Tuesday, the Housing and Local Government Minister pointed out that Malaysia’s National Affordable Housing Policy will see about 500,000 affordable houses built by 2025.

His ministry, he added, established a committee on Nov 17 last year to coordinate the implementation of 500,000 units of affordable housing during the duration of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) from 2021 to 2025.

The committee would monitor the implementation and provision of housing supply by 15 housing provision agencies, in addition to that of the ministry, state governments and private sectors, he said.

At the round-table, Reezal Merican also took the opportunity to share about HOPE or Home Ownership Programme, which was spearheaded by his ministry whereby the programme’s approach was guided by five fundamental principles: availability, affordability, accessibility to financing, quality, and liveability.

To ensure sustainability and inclusive urbanisation, Reezal Merican said Malaysia had also introduced and implemented several environmental and social policies that transcended national and sub-national levels to local rungs.

They include the National Urbanisation Policy, formulated in 2006 to help local governments set the direction for urban planning and growth in Malaysia.

“We envision a liveable Malaysia, a nation that progresses economically while allowing the environment to thrive and Malaysians to prosper,” he said.

Reezal Merican also admitted that tackling urban poverty was an uphill battle and efforts to address it in Malaysia went beyond economic development.

“It includes elevating the well-being and quality of life of the lower-income group.

“Access to education, health, public transportation, better living standards and a better income are among the key dimensions of Malaysia’s Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index,” he said.

WUF was initiated by the United Nations in 2001 to study one of the most pressing issues facing the world today, namely rapid urbanisation and its impact on communities, cities, the economy and climate change.

Organised and convened by UN-Habitat, WUF is the most inclusive international gathering on urban issues that brings together representatives of national, provincial and local governments, academics, business people, community leaders, town planners and civil societies. — Bernama

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