Start building houses, Govt urges developers

Start building houses, Govt urges developers

IPOH: Housing developers should launch their projects now that the fuel prices and the cost of building materials have dropped, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said.
Over the past six months, he said, many projects did not take off as developers chose to stall them because of the rising cost of building materials.
He pointed out an average of 100,000 homes were built each year, but as of October, only half of that amount had been delivered so far.
“We always need the sale of houses to generate economic activity. Every house has 140 components, so if the developers stop building, then this also affects the factories producing the building materials.
“The professional bodies would have no business and this creates a backlash in the industry,” he told reporters at a Perak Fire and Rescue Department Hari Raya celebration here on Wednesday night.
“Launch the project because the demand for houses is always there. Of course, some developers still prefer a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude,” he added.
Ong also said the ministry was working out a mechanism to stabilise the cost of building materials for the housing sector, particularly low and medium cost housing schemes.
The Government, he said, had learnt its lesson from previous experiences when steel prices, for instance, had once soared and thrown builders into a difficult position.
“We have to talk with the developers, manufacturers and building material suppliers to work out the mechanism because we cannot make a decision when it affects their interest.
“We don’t want a situation where the high prices (of building materials) affect the supply of low and middle cost houses, which are in great demand,” he added.
Among the possibilities for the mechanism was the Government stockpiling steel or rendering other form of assistance, he said.
Earlier in his speech, Ong commended the Perak Fire and Rescue Department for being one of the recipients of a ‘Pride of Workmanship’ award from the Greentown Rotary Club here.
He noted that for this year alone, state firefighters had responded to 2,089 fires, rescued people from drowning and car accidents in 2,720 cases and removed 1,166 snakes, bee hives and other dangerous animals.

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