Sabah govt wants developers to provide more affordable housing

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah housing developers must help the state government in its efforts to provide affordable housing for the people, says Deputy Chief Minister II Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam.

He said the government was ready to discuss a mechanism that allows industry players to build high-end and luxury houses as well as affordable houses.

It was hoped that this mechanism would overcome concerns that buyer interest in exclusive or luxury homes would be lost owing to the proximity of affordable housing, he added.

In urging Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Shareda) members to help build more affordable properties, he said he was aware of their concerns over such a mismatch.

"We need to meet and discuss a workable mechanism," he said at the Shareda Propex 2023 property expo here on Thursday (Aug 31).

"I am fine with industry players needing to build luxury properties in an exclusive area so that you can make your money.

"I am willing to discuss a certain mechanism so that you can’t run away from your responsibility in helping the government build more affordable houses in a different locality," he said.

Dr Gunsalam, who is also state Local Government and Housing Minister, said one possible way was for developers to put some money into a fund towards affordable homes as a condition for approval of developer licences.

He also acknowledged Shareda members' efforts to provide affordable housing but more could be done.

"More is needed to address the needs of the B40 and M40 and not just the T20," he said.

Dr Gunsalam said the government had numerous initiatives to help young people get their very own homes.

"For example, the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) which runs from 2019 until the end of 2024, to assist first-time homebuyers (of properties worth) up to RM500,000.

"The Keluarga Malaysia Home Ownership Initiative or i-Miliki (from June 1 last year to Dec 31 this year) also gives help to first-time home buyers.

"This initiative extends 100% exemption on the stamp duty for first-time buyers for properties under RM500,000.

"For properties priced between RM500,001 and RM1,000,000, first-time buyers will have 75% of their stamp duties exempted.

"The Skim Jaminan Kredit Perumahan (SJKP) is another initiative by the government.

"From April this year, the government increased SJKP coverage to include applicants without a regular source of income," Dr Gunsalam added.

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