Minister blames state governments for failure of affordable homes programme

noh-omar_rumah_600KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Government’s failure to deliver on its promise of 1.5 million affordable houses by 2018 is due to a lack of cooperation from state governments, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Noh Omar (BN-Tanjong Karang) said: “The commitment to deliver the houses has to be supported by the state governments as well. For example in Selangor, we wanted to construct 51,992 units but could only deliver 11,000 because cooperation from the state government is lacking.”

Saying the opposition needed to understand the process of house construction, the minister added: “When we announce that we are going to build affordable homes, the rules are in place, we have to get approval from state governments and their cooperation is important.

“The YB (Khalid Samad) knows that the power to give approval for planning in the state lies with the state government. In fact these state governments should give us special approval to construct these affordable homes.”

He added that it was the federal government that was paying for these projects amounting to RM2.2 billion.

He said this after Khalid Samad (Amanah-Shah Alam) raised the issue. Khalid had wanted to know what the government planned to do to ensure the promise of affordable housing could be fulfilled.

In questioning Noh’s answer, Khalid asked if the prime minister himself knew how the system worked in the construction of houses in different states before making any promise or whether the prime minister just made “empty promises” as the affordable housing promise was way off target.

“There are such a large number of houses that have yet to be built. The minister must give a clear explanation as to how he is going to solve this problem? Is the Federal Government making promises it can’t fulfil? There are almost 900,000 units left to be built by 2018,” he said during oral question time in the Dewan Rakyat.

Noh went on to repeat that it was difficult to deliver on the promise when some states failed to cooperate with the federal government.

“Some states give us no problem. Kelantan, for instance, works with us really well, perhaps because they do not prioritise politics so much.

“Selangor, on the other hand, gives us land at a premium, the same it would give a private company. We are then forced to make these houses under Rumah Selangorku and are forced to raise the prices of these homes.

“This is what the YB has to understand about the powers of the Federal Government and state government,” he said.

Out of the 1.5 million affordable homes promised by the government only a fraction has been delivered.

Noh gave the number of houses that had been built so far under the programme: 255,341 units, or 23% have been completed, 717, 512 or 64% are still under construction and work has yet to start on the balance of 138, 335 or 12%.