Housing foundation backs call to reach out to Singapore

PETALING JAYA: Singapore has one of the most successful affordable housing models in the world and there is nothing wrong in Malaysia seeking tips from the island republic, says Yayasan My First Home Foundation (YMFH).

Its general manager Nambee Ashvin Nambiar said the foundation fully supported the idea by the Local Government Development Ministry to reach out to Singapore.

Nambee said YMFH found that Singapore had managed to provide a good public housing system to its citizens and data showed that nearly 80% of Singaporeans are living in flats administered by their Housing & Development Board (HDB).

The remaining 20% of upper middle class citizens live in private developments, making Singapore one of the countries in the world with almost 100% home ownership.

“One of the most attractive models that make the housing situation in Singapore unique is the fact that the land is owned by the government and the 99-year lease took off land cost, which in return reduces the housing cost and makes it affordable.

“This method ensures most of its population has shelter,” added Nambee.

YMFH was launched last year and is founded by tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan, who is also Berjaya Corporation Bhd founder.

It aims to promote and facilitate affordable housing and home ownership for lower income groups, including squatters and the indigenous community.

Nambee noted that homelessness, due to the high cost of housing, remains a big issue in developed countries such as the United States, Taiwan and France.

“In Singapore, however, you don’t have that issue as the government had made housing accessible for most of its citizens,” he added.

On Jan 17, Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming had said his ministry would examine case studies and best practices to tackle the affordable housing issue.

Nga also said Singapore was allowing the republic’s HDB flat contractors to visit his ministry next month to share their knowledge.

Nambee said YMFH believes home ownership should be a fundamental right but unfortunately, in Malaysia, housing costs had risen faster than incomes.

He added that YMFH wanted to work with the ministry in tackling this issue, saying the foundation had already assisted those with related issues to own a home.

For information, go to www.yayasanmyfirsthome.my.

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