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By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Feb 3: The Sarawak government has proposed 10 sites to the federal Ministry of Housing and Local Government in August last year to build affordable housing.
The proposal was made when its minister, Zuraida Kamaruddin, made her first working visit to Sarawak.
State Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said Zuraida was brought to these sites.
“The (affordable) housing is a concurrent effort between federal and state governments. In August last hear, Zuraida came here and HDC presented 10 locations in Sarawak involving few hundred acres for her to consider funding.
“She also looked at some houses under similar (low cost) schemes from the previous government that were built by HDC. She was very impressed with the quality.
“So, now, what we are waiting for is for Zuraida to give funding to build the houses. Otherwise, it’s not a matter of land.
“No money how to build? That is a federal responsibility,” he told reporters after officiating at the Pongal Festival at Kuching Waterfront here this morning.
He was replying to a recent statement by the federal ministry’s special officer in the state Voon Shiak Ni, where she said the state and federal governments could collaborate on this matter for the benefit of people, especially those in the B40 or low-income group.
“We welcome the positive move to build more affordable housing by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and the state government’s policy to subsidise half of the costs for buyers,” Voon had told a press conference.
She added that Zuraida was hopeful that the state government could lend support to achieve this in Sarawak by identifying and providing suitable state land to implement the project.
“We hope to get the green light to acquire suitable state lands that are not too rural or remote from the city or suburbs to enable us to proceed with the project. If the land is too far away, the cost of transportation will be an issue as it will definitely add a financial burden on people in the low-income group,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr Sim said the state government had also introduced an affordable housing policy.
He explained that because the federal government defined affordable housing as costing below RM300,000, the state government was going to build 2,500 affordable houses costing between RM90,000 and RM150,000 across the state.
“This year, there are 2,500 units (of affordable houses) being planned. We are doing the paperwork now so that as soon as that is done, we will announce to the public how to apply,” said Dr Sim. — DayakDaily