KUCHING: The state government is taking numerous steps to help solve the issue of high housing prices in the state.
Assistant Minister of Housing Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said among others the government had implemented a policy to control the prices of low and medium cost houses developed by the private sector.
“This is to ensure that the low and medium income group can afford to own houses. The ceiling price fixed by the government for low cost is RM50,400 (intermediate) and RM59,220 (corner houses) while for medium cost the ceiling price fixed by the government is RM80,000 per unit for intermediate and RM100,000 for corners,” he said.
He said to prevent the prices of houses from increasing due to demand and supply the government, together with the private sector, was also trying to build more houses through various housing programmes in the state.
“Among the housing programmes are Rumah Mesra Rakyat (RMR), Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR), Skim Rumah Mampu Milik (RMM), Skim PRIMA, Skim Rumah Pertamaku, Skim Perumahan Penjawat Awam 1Malaysia, Skim Rumah Idamanku (under Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad – SPNB) and MyHome Scheme.”
Abdul Karim (BN-Asajaya) disclosed this when answering questions by Ripin Lamat (BN-Lambir) and David Wong Kee Woan (DAP-Pelawan) during question-and-answer session at the Legislative Assembly (DUN) here yesterday.
Abdul Karim, in giving the replies on behalf of the Housing Ministry, informed the august house that apart from the programmes that had already been implemented the government was also planning to introduce a new housing scheme mainly to help youths to have a house.
“This Skim Perumahan Belia will be implemented starting next year and apart from addressing the issue of high housing prices in the state we will also provide opportunities to the youths in the low and medium income group to own houses,” he said.
He said another approach was to create more land bank for the construction of affordable houses in the future.
According to him, Sarawak Housing Development Corporation (HDC) in collaboration with Land and Survey Department were in the process of identifying suitable land in major towns in the state for the purpose.
“Our fourth strategy to control the prices of houses is that the Housing Ministry with the cooperation of HDC and SPNB are making use of Industrialised Building System (IBS) or modular construction system to reduce the cost of construction of affordable houses and RMR scheme,” he said, adding that the IBS concept was used in PPR Kemena, Bintulu; PPR Rantau Panjang, Sibu; PPR Batu Gong, Kuching; and PPR Lambir, Miri.
He also told the House that the federal government had introduced various approaches to help prevent rising prices of houses such as increasing real property gains tax (RPGT) whereby the resale of property within three years was subject to a 30 per cent tax charge.
He also explained that financial institutions were prohibited from financing projects which involved developer interest bearing scheme (DIBS) and this policy could reduce property speculations causing house prices to increase sky-high.
On the fear that the introduction of goods and services tax (GST) starting next year would affect the price of houses, he said it should not be the case since many of the building components would be exempted from tax.
He said some fittings would be subject to tax but even would be given back to the developer and thus there was no reason for them to pass the tax they never paid to customers in the first place.
“To make this clearer to all builders and developers our ministry will hold a special briefing on GST in January next year,” he said.