Rehda, Fomca support regulatory body for affordable housing

Jerry-Chan-Yusof-Abdul-RahmanPETALING JAYA: The Real Estate & Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) Penang supports the idea of setting up a regulatory body to supervise the affordable housing sector.

Rehda Penang chairman Jerry Chan said funding for developers to carry out such low-cost housing projects would be one of the main concerns such a body needs to look at.

On Tuesday, Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani said setting up a regulatory body was important to solve the mismatch between demand and supply of affordable housing.

He said the regulatory body may be necessary as there were too many complications involved in the development of affordable housing and there was also a need to re-look the pricing of the affordable housing segment.

Chan said developers had to bear the cost of developing affordable housing and the cost did not reflect the steep price at which the government sells them.

He hoped members selected for the regulatory body would have sound knowledge of funding matters affecting developers.

“It’s painful for us developers who have to build these affordable units. We win the contract from the government at a cost of RM70,000 per unit but the government gets a windfall by selling them for RM300,000.

“It’s like striking a lottery for the government,” he told FMT.

Chan said there was also the concern about finding buyers eligible to get housing loans.

“Most of the time, there are buyers but they are not eligible to take a loan because banks regard them as high risk.

“So the government needs to address this important issue too,” he said.

Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) vice-president Yusof Abdul Rahman said a regulatory body would be a good step.

Yusof said some affordable houses did not fit people’s needs.

“Maybe it is affordable but it is built in a rural area such as an Orang Asli settlement. Who would want to buy them?” he told FMT.

“So members of the body must be aware of the requirements of the community.”

Yusof also suggested having representatives from non-profit organisations to act as a check and balance.

“Other members for the body should come from government agencies related to housing or local authorities and academicians who are experts in housing developments matters.”

He hoped the regulatory body will study what people could afford to pay for these “affordable” homes.

Nurul Azwa Aris contributed to this article.