Rented homes to be focus of housing policy, says minister

Zuraida Kamaruddin told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that the affordable homes policy would focus on rented homes. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The federal government is drawing up the policy for the Residential Tenancies Act to control housing prices and rents, said housing and local government minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.

She said this would take into account the interests of the landlord and the tenant, as well as ensure that the landowner did not simply increase rental or evict the tenant.

“This is one of the ways to control rental rates,” she said when winding-up the debate on the motion of thanks for the royal address at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Zuraida said the ministry also plans to build homes only for rent and may give exemptions to the poor so that they can continue to rent these homes until their (financial) situation stabilises.

“At present, the ministry has a scheme for purchasing, renting, and Rent-To-Own (RTO) but in future, the ministry, through the Affordable Homes Policy, will only build houses for rent…so this is one of the innovations by the ministry in the issue of housing for the B40 and M40 groups,” she said.

She also spoke about criticisms in the Auditor-General’s Report in July, and did not deny that there were several technical and administrative issues regarding her ministry.

“I do not deny that it should be improved, monitored and its management changed. However, there are also issues which affect its implementation, resulting in delays and such.

“There are nine housing projects which were brought up in the audit, but the ministry has completed 342 housing projects,” she said. The ministry would take action on the Auditor-General’s comments,” she said, adding that the weakness was at the contract administration stage.

RTO public housing for the poor and low-income group has been criticised for making applicants wait up to 40 months. The national audit report for 2018 said the ministry also took up to 866 days to hand over completed projects.