Consumer-interest groups want lower price for affordable homes

SM idris

PETALING JAYA: Consumer-interest groups have weighed in on the maximum selling price for affordable homes, which has yet to be decided by the National Housing Council (NHC).

Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) President S M Idris told FMT that the maximum price for affordable homes in Penang should be set at RM200,000 and below.

He hoped the final maximum price would not be set at RM400,000, which is the ceiling price of PR1MA homes.

“Also, we hope that lower maximum prices would not result in lesser quality and smaller sizes of homes.

“More importantly, affordable homes must be located in areas close to the work places of the majority of residents so that they can reduce their transport costs,” he said, adding planning was crucial in this respect.

Idris also called on companies and factories to provide accommodation for their workers to help alleviate the massive demand for affordable housing.

For National House Buyers Association (HBA) Honorary Secretary-General Chang Kim Loong, affordable homes should not exceed the RM300,000 mark.

“In the past, I have criticised PR1MA and other ‘so-called’ affordable housing projects for being too expensive,” he told FMT.

He said naturally, in urban areas such as Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Penang, the price would be closer to the RM300,000 mark due to development costs, while in less urbanised areas like Kelantan or Terengganu, the maximum price should only be around RM200,000.

However, in the case of affordable homes in the form of apartments, Chang said they should not be shoebox-sized, and be at least 850 sq ft, even in high density and urbanised areas.

He also stressed the importance of such homes having easy accessibility to public transport.

Idris and Chang’s comments come in the wake of the war of words between Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng over the maximum price for affordable homes in Penang.