Low cost housing: Developers can't cope | Daily Express Newspaper Online, Sabah, Malaysia.

Low cost housing: Developers can't cope Daily Express Newspaper Online, Sabah, Malaysia.

Kota Kinabalu: Housing developers want other industries in the country to share the responsibility to provide low-cost houses for the people through general taxation.
Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association (Rehda) President, Datuk Ng Seing Liong, said they have come to a stage where housing developers could no longer bear the cost of subsidising the public housing sector.
Speaking to reporters after the 11th Malaysian Developers Council (MDC) meeting at Le Meridien Hotel here Friday, he said the recent announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak that the Government was currently reviewing its low-cost housing concept and policies through the Economic Planning Unit is most welcome.
However, he said the MDC urged the Government to re-assume its responsibility in prioritising construction of public housing for the low-income group through general taxation.
"We totally support the Prime Minister's statement but the private sector cannot cope anymore in subsidising the public housing and we suggest that other industries also contribute through general taxation (to be imposed by the Government)," he said.
The issue was among six points in the joint communique issued after the MDC meeting, a tripartite meeting between Rehda, Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Shareda) and Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers' Association (Sheda).
At the Press conference were Shareda President Datuk Susan Wong and her Sheda counterpart, Haji Zaidi Haji Ahmad.
According to Ng, MDC had made the call on many occasions and they reiterated the call following the announcement by Najib at the Rehda annual dinner on Aug 3 that the Government would be revamping the low-cost housing concept and policies.
They asserted that housing developers were facing a burden, especially when the low-cost house selling price is RM40,000 per unit but the construction cost is RM120,000.
The MDC also appealed for the levy on foreign workers to be reduced by 50 per cent as well as to allow employers to pay the levy in monthly instalments.
Besides that, they also urged the Government to give incentives to employers for hiring locals instead of procuring the service of foreign workers.
In this respect, Wong said presently the Government was giving a 50 per cent discount to employers to register their foreign workers until October but "we hope this rate (50 per cent off) would be permanent".
The MDC also wants the quota for Bumiputera (in a housing development) to be capped at 30 per cent and for a structured and transparent release mechanism.
"There should be a ceiling price for Bumiputera quota as it is not fair for those who can purchase luxury houses to enjoy the discount. The discount should also be capped at five per cent," it said, adding that it would be up to the Government to determine the ceiling price.
The MDC is appealing for the implementation of the 0.5 per cent ad volarem Stamp Duty on Construction Contract to be suspended because it has led to an increase in the cost of doing business, apart from the fact that developers now are already paying a levy of 0.125 per cent to the Construction Industrial Development Board (CIDB).
Ng said MDC also appealed to the Federal Government to reduce the Stamp Duty on property transactions.
The last point in the joint communique called for the standardisation of the Electricity Capital Contribution imposed on housing developers.
The rate charged on housing developers in Sabah and Sarawak should be at par with the rate charged by Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) on their counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia.
According to Ng, developers in Peninsular Malaysia were only charged RM500 per unit for the Electricity Capital Contribution whereas in Sabah the rate is RM4,000 per unit and in Sarawak it is between RM5,000 and RM12,000.
The Electricity Capital Contribution is charged for the laying of electricity infrastructures to supply power to the housing development areas.
Towards this end, Ng said the MDC is appealing to the utility companies in Sabah and Sarawak to lower the rate.
Later, Shareda led by Wong hosted the welcoming and MDC fellowship dinner for the delegates from Rehda and Sheda.

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