Private developers want to leave low-cost housing to government

Datuk FD Iskandar

Private developers seek to turn over the responsibility of building low-cost homes to the government, although they will still help carry out such projects as part of their social obligation, said Datuk FD Iskandar (pictured), Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Glomac Bhd.

Iskandar said the role can be taken up by Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Minister of Finance Inc, adding that developers pay a certain amount to SPNB instead of building low-cost homes.

"There is already a formula in Kuala Lumpur where for every low-cost (unit) developers don't build, they have to pay to Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL)," Iskandar said.

Additionally, private developers are not running away from their social obligation and, in fact, have been able to deliver low-cost housing projects more than the required target.

Under the Eighth Malaysia Plan (2001-2005), developers have been able to deliver a total of 97,294 houses, exceeding the target of 40,000 units while in the Ninth Malaysia Plan, (2006 and 2010) they have built 78,500, up from the 77,700 target.

"For the hardcore and urban poor, they cannot buy a house (even) at RM42,000 as they don't have the capacity to buy at that price," he said, noting that there are thousands of low-cost units priced at RM42,000, which are empty.

"As business entities, we have to meet profit expectations of shareholders as well, and building homes and selling them at RM42,000 or below is certainly not going to help meet those expectations."

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