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CM: 1,000 affordable homes for govt staff in Sabah

Published on: Saturday, August 30, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: Some 1,000 1Malaysia Public Housing (PPA1M) homes will be built soon to address the lack of homeownership among civil servants and those who work with government-linked firms and statutory bodies in Sabah.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the Government is responding to the issue to assist civil servants who were not able to obtain housing due to the affordability factor.

His speech was read by Special Tasks Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang at the Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developer Association (Shareda) Property Expo (Propex) 2014.

The Sabah Housing and Town Development Board had last year earmarked 1,766 units under the scheme from its land bank in Beringgis, Papar, as the Government allocated 50,000 homes to be built nationwide over the next five years.

Musa also spoke at length over concerns of the property sector as raised by Shareda in the past, such as its call to expedite the gazettement of the draft local plans for Penampang, Tawau, Lahad Datu, Kota Kinabalu and other towns and the reduction of the 999-year lease to 99 years when a master title is subdivided.

Towards this end, he said the Government can be accused of being reckless and short-sighted, if the gazettement were to be rushed as it involves various parties, while the issue on the lease is now being thoroughly studied.

"I have been informed by the Attorney-General Datuk Mariati Robert, and was given the assurance by her that the issue is being thoroughly studied É it is the same with the subject of Native title conversions for property development and sub-division.

"While on the one hand we want to make it easier for the land to be converted for development, we are also cautious about indiscriminate conversion, which will undermine the very core principle upon which the Native Title Safeguards were put in place all those years," he said.

Musa noted that while Sabah is operating on a free market supported by a business-friendly administration, it still has the responsibility to make careful decisions which may resolve one issue but create many new others.

Nonetheless, he said housing is a basic need of the people and the Government subscribes to the principle of a house-owning democracy. Although, population growth had squeezed land availability and prices of land up, properties should not escalate beyond the financial means of the public.

Towards this end, he lauded Shareda for agreeing to build 10,000 units of affordable homes in Sabah, while capping the prices at RM250,000 for a 850 sq foot unit under the Myhome scheme.

He also complimented Shareda's President Francis Goh for leading members to hold dialogues with ministries, agencies and local authorities and the associations for publishing a comprehensive Sabah Property Market Report last year.

"The operative word here is dialogue. It is an important mindset and necessary approach, because by talking to each other, we can move many things forward.

"Also the report highlights the importance of property development industries to our annual State economic growth and its impact on 165 other related industries. "We look forward to your 2014 report," he said.

Teo also witnessed four Shareda council members donating RM20,000 each to the wives of slain police officer Corporal Ab Jamuan, Salamah Amad, and kidnapped colleague, Constable Zakia Aleip, Sharifah Erna Benson from Semporna.

Meanwhile, more than 5,500 houses will be showcased during the Propex, while 133 booths from 70 exhibitors are set up by the developers, real estate and property consultants, building and housing wares and other products related to property in the four-day event at the Sabah Trade Centre in Likas, ending Sept 1.