S’wak’s new housing policy: Private developers to make payment in lieu of building 30 pct low-cost houses

Abang Johari (seated centre) speaks during a press conference while (seated from left) Zaidi, Dr Abdul Rahman, Monaliza and Abdul Yakub look on at Sungai Bedaun Housing Scheme in Jalan Sultan Tengah, Kuching on Jan 6, 2024.

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, Jan 6: Private developers developing lands of 10 acres or more in Sarawak are required to make a payment for a special trust fund instead of allotting up to 30 per cent of their housing projects to build affordable houses.

Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said this new housing policy will take effect within the first quarter of this year.


“We are currently reviewing (the policy) so that the developers do not have to conduct physical construction to meet the 30 per cent requirement for low-cost housing, but instead, they make a payment in lieu.

“The money will be channelled into a trust fund where we (Sarawak government) will use it to develop the low-cost houses that the developers were supposed to build in the first place.

“This is because there are developers that we can rely on and there are also those that we cannot rely on (of which) when I introduced the 30 per cent requirement, some developers would construct the houses ‘semadi nadai’ (bare minimum) or ‘cincai’ (without much effort).

“Therefore, we will amend the policy to have the developers make a payment in lieu, and we will help construct quality low-cost houses,” he told a press conference after visiting the Sungai Bedaun Housing Scheme at Jalan Sultan Tengah today.

Despite the policy, he stressed that the Sarawak government will continue to introduce and develop low-cost housing schemes alongside the ones that were supposed to be built by the private sector through the special trust fund.

He also said the amount that needs to be paid by the developers will be evaluated based on the location and market value of the land.

Under the current State law implemented in 2016, the private sector is obligated to allocate 30 per cent of their housing scheme or mixed development project to build affordable houses if the land being developed is 10 acres or more.

Following the Sarawak government’s intention to introduce the new policy, Abang Johari said his administration would amend the rules under the Sarawak Housing Development Corporation Ordinance 2002.

Abang Johari proposed this policy during the Housing Development Corporation’s (HDC) golden jubilee celebration dinner at Penview Convention Centre (PCC) in Demak on Nov 19, 2023.

Also present were Deputy Minister of Utility and Telecommunication (Utility) and Pantai Damai assemblyman Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Ministry of Natural Resources and Urban Development (MUDENR) permanent secretary Datu Zaidi Mahdi, Sarawak Land and Survey Department director Datu Abdullah Julaihi, HDC chairman Abdul Yakub Arbi, and Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA) general manager Datu Monaliza Zaidel. — DayakDaily