March 10, 2014, Monday

KUCHING: The state government will use Daya Perumahan Sdn Bhd to flood the housing market to counter greedy housing developers who had caused house prices to go through the roof.

Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the price of houses in the state had been climbing rapidly in recent years because some private developers had set their profit margin at between 80 and 100 per cent.

He said this quantum was “senseless” and “unreasonable”, and as such his ministry would use Daya Perumahan, a fully-owned subsidiary of Housing Development Corporation, to restore sanity.

For starters, Daya Perumahan has embarked on a pioneer project in Kampung Datu in Sibu, where 30 units of detached houses were currently being constructed.

“Each unit will be sold for not more than RM140,000. I want to prove to the private sector that they are wrong and that houses can be built and sold at a reasonable price,” he told reporters covering the closing of his ministry’s team building programme at Borneo Highlands Resort in Padawan yesterday.

“The profit margin for Daya Perumahan is between 15 and 20 per cent.”

Abang Johari lamented that what private developers were charging had deprived a huge majority of urban dwellers to purchase houses of their own.

He expressed confidence that the result of the government’s initiative could be seen as early as next year when Daya Perumahan sells double-storey intermediate terrace houses for less than RM250,000.

Currently, such houses are being sold for more than RM300,000 by private developers.

“This will be ‘private sector’ versus private sector (battle). Only then we will be able to prove to the developers that their price tags are senseless.

“Despite the rising cost of raw materials and oil, the most developers should increase the price of their houses is by five to 10 per cent.”

The price of land, he said, represented an unreasonable excuse for private developers to hike the price of their properties.

In Sarawak, 58 per cent of the population are living in urban areas, and the rest in the rural areas.

“From 2020 to 2030, it is projected that 65 per cent of the state’s population will be centred at urban areas.”

The average income of urban dwellers is between RM2,000 and RM3,000, which makes purchasing a house costing more than RM300,000 as next to impossible for this group of people, he pointed out.

Abang Johari said it was also unfair to charge housing infrastructure to house buyers.

A proposal would be submitted to the government to bear the cost of land, road system, utility and drains for public houses.

He believed this initiative would slash the price of houses by a considerable amount.