Developers urged 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 is ready to discuss with industry players on a mechanism that would enable them to build high-end, luxury houses as well as affordable homes by overcoming any mismatch or other concerns.

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

For example, he said building high-end, luxury homes together with low-cost houses in the same vicinity may not be agreeable to the developer since many house buyers prefer to live in an exclusive community.

“I am aware of this problem but the government needs your help in building affordable property. So we need to meet and discuss a workable mechanism.

“Probably one of the conditions is that you pay a certain percentage of the property value to a fund,” he suggested at a Shareda event here on Thursday.

Dr Gunsalam, who is state Local Government and Housing Minister, said he is aware that Shareda had helped in providing affordable houses but that it is not enough.

“Please do more. We need more to address the needs of the B40 and M40 and not just the T20,” he added.

Dr Gunsalam said the government had established multiple initiatives to help young homeowners get their own place.

“There are a number of government initiatives to help the rakyat get their dream house early,” he said, citing for example the Home Ownership Campaign which began in 2019 and which will continue till Dec 31, 2025 to help first-time homebuyers.

“Beginning June 1, 2022 to Dec 31, 2023, the Keluarga Malaysia Home Ownership Initiative (i-Miliki) has given first-time homebuyers an opportunity to own a home.

“This initiative provides a 100% exemption on stamp duty for first-time buyers for properties under RM500,000. Properties priced between RM500,001 and RM1,000,000 will have 75% of their stamp duties exempted.

“The Skim Jaminan Kredit Perumhan (SJKP) is also another initiative by the government, targeted at helping first-time homebuyers without a stable income.

“Since April 2023, the government has even increased the coverage of SJKP to include applicants with or without a regular source of income,” Dr Gunsalam added.

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