Academics: Multiple benefits from developing Malay reserve land

KUALA LUMPUR: The development of Malay reserve land, particularly for building more affordable housing, can provide greater opportunities for bumiputras to become homeowners, especially in city centres, says an academic.

Prof Dr Mansor Mohd Noor, honorary professor at the Institute of Ethnic Studies at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, believes that the move could also help balance the position of the community in urban areas, which is crucial for fostering unity.

“This development planning needs to be comprehensive, encompassing the construction of affordable housing alongside commercial zones and complete infrastructure facilities to ensure a conducive living environment.

“Priority also can be given to small and medium industry players to help them compete in city centres, and at the same time, serve as a source of income or bring economic spillover for bumiputras in the surrounding areas,” he said, Bernama reported.

He also emphasised the importance of strict implementation to ensure the benefits reach the M40 and B40 bumiputra groups in city centres.

He said they are in greater need of such facilities than those financially capable of competing in the urban property market.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, in his speech at the closing ceremony of the Bumiputra Economic Congress 2024 in Putrajaya on Saturday, announced the setting up of the Madani Housing Scheme on Malay reserve land, with the target to develop 2,500 affordable housing units.

He said 80.9ha of government land, including 20.23ha in Bandar Malaysia, would remain under Malay ownership to ensure the availability of affordable housing for Malays in urban areas.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Malay Contractors Association president Datuk Seri Mohamed Fadzill Hassan described efforts to safeguard Malay reserve land as “crucial” for the future of bumiputras.

He said development in Malay reserve land would also increase the market value of the land, and at the same time, stimulate economic growth for related industry players.

“I hope that plans for Malay reserve land are truly implemented because there is still underdeveloped land despite their strategic location and potential.

“As time passes, it becomes increasingly challenging for bumiputras to afford homes, especially in urban areas, due to excessively high prices.

“If the government does not take action to safeguard Malay reserve land now, who else will?” he said.

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