Warisan: Sabah govt not serious in solving housing price issue

Darell-Leiking-solving-housing-price-issue-1KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah has accused the Sabah government of not trying hard enough to solve the problem of steep housing prices in the state.

Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking claimed the government had been non-committal on the issue, saying it should have set up a specific unit to find solutions much earlier.

“If the BN-led state government is serious in overcoming this problem, it would have to set up a special committee, comprising stakeholders such as town planners, Sabah Law Society, Cuepacs and Employees Provident Fund, the same way they solve other issues in Sabah.

“But one can only guess why for the past five years, the state government has been non-committal when it concerns this problem,” he said, in stating the party’s aim to overcome the housing shortage problem in the state.

“The excuses that we always hear from BN state leaders are that the federal government has allocated billions of ringgit to overcome this problem and that the prices of houses in Greater Kota Kinabalu is determined by market forces.”

Leiking said Warisan would do its utmost to protect housebuyers from unscrupulous speculators who exploit the Sabah property market by depriving genuine buyers of low- and middle-cost houses.

“Warisan is optimistic that the party can overcome this issue because its leaders have been very consistent in matters of providing affordable housing in Sabah,” he said.

The Penampang MP said it was crucial to arrest the growing shortage of affordable houses in Sabah, particularly within the Greater Kota Kinabalu area.

He backed up his call with the statement made by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) that Malaysia faced a serious shortage of affordable houses.

BNM estimated the maximum price of affordable houses in the country to be RM282,000.

It also outlined three factors contributing to this situation — a mismatch between supply and demand for housing, new launches skewed towards the unaffordable range, and growth in house prices outpacing that of household income.

“I think those aged between 25 and 40, who have a combined salary of RM3,500, would find it very difficult to acquire a house, particularly within Greater Kota Kinabalu, because they range from RM450,000 to RM600,000,” Leiking said.

“You cannot expect to solve this issue by merely allocating RM1 billion or RM2 billion, the way the BN government always does. If you do, then you will still face the same situation year after year.

“First and foremost, Greater Kota Kinabalu needs proper planning or zoning and the state government needs to upgrade infrastructure within the area.

“It is not enough to just have the Pan-Borneo Highway. There must be integrated feeder roads, an effective drainage system and efficient public transportation.”

He said the state government also needed its own financial institution and a credit guarantee corporation to enable low- and middle-income Sabahans to acquire homes.

This was because commercial banks were now adopting stringent policies when processing housing loan applications, Leiking added.