I was browsing my regular news websites today and I came across an article carried by the Star Online, with regards to our very own local Malaysian housing developers and their association, REHDA.
Apparently, they had a meeting in Kota Kinabalu, our local Malaysian housing developers, afterwhich they pronounced to feeling burdened by the 30% requirement for low cost housing. They also wanted a detailed study to evaluate the requirement, with a view to a review.
The article went further to quote REHDA’s president questioning the number of low cost houses that are actually required, bearing in mind the many years of progress. Thereafter, our local Malaysian housing developers can consider building affordable houses, so that we can avoid the stigma of slums.
The article went further to mention that REHDA hopes the Government may reconsider the “Build first and sell” concept that will be enforced from 2015 onwards.
I must applaud the choice of our local Malaysian housing developers having their meeting in Kota Kinabalu. It has been ages since I was last there and I must make it a point to go there again. Maybe my wife and I can sample the golfing scene with our KK friends, whilst our collective bodies are able and our collective hearts are willing. But I am digressing, am I not?
I must, however, record my dismay with the statements quoted. It seems that some things never change. I am no property expert and therefore I cannot comment on the overall housing situation elsewhere in the country except as a potential house buyer and even that, only for Johor Bahru.
With regards to properties in Johor Bahru, I do not think I am the only person to have noticed that prices for reasonable homes in JB are a bit on the high side, to put it mildly. That even when comparing prices to that of Kuala Lumpur’s and its surrounding areas.
In addition, in my humble opinion, the impression that I get is it seems that most housing developers having projects in JB are not building homes for the locals but are targetting potential buyers from our neighbours to the south ie the Singaporeans as well as Malaysians working in Singapore.
A tour of most housing estates would, I believe, prove my point. Many have Singapore registered vehicles, red plated and otherwise. Some developers even have their model homes certified by a Singapore certification agency, and prices quoted in Singapore Dollar equivalents. Last time I checked, Johor is still part of Malaysia and the legal tender still has the picture of our very first Yang Di Pertuan Agong.
Slum areas? Whose fault is that, really? In my view, the developers must also share the blame alongside the local authorities and the residents. In trying to get that extra profit or even comply with the 30% requirement, has there been any attention given to the planning and layouts of these housing estates? Well, lets take a tour and maybe we can get a clearer picture.
Build First and then Sell? Why not? Or have we forgotten the events that unfolded during the financial crisis of 1997 and thereafter? What do we tell those people that ARE still paying for the numerous housing projects that were abandoned by you know who? The folly of it all, to believe the marketing gimmicks.
Sometimes, you wonder, who are the people behind those abandoned projects and where are they now? And are they still in the business, directly or indirectly? If you were to be one of them who ARE still paying for homes that may never materialise, how would you feel?
Don’t get me wrong. Be a conscientious developer, by all means. Respect the people FOR the people is the market. Make a profit, by all means. But make it a fair profit. And the market will respect and reward you.