28th June – 4th July
The government mulls delaying mega projects to finance this year’s subsidy bill, which is estimated to be RM77.3 million.
Meanwhile, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said the provision of affordable housing continue to be high on the list of Malaysia’s agenda.
1) Govt considers delaying mega projects to fund RM77.3mil subsidy bill
Economic Affairs Minister Mustapa Mohamed revealed that the government mulls delaying mega projects to finance this year’s subsidy bill, which is estimated to be RM77.3 million.
While he did not disclose which projects were under discussion, he noted that a delay may prove helpful in ensuring that the country’s financial position remain secure, reported Free Malaysia Today.
Mustapa explained that Malaysia’s finances had been impacted since the amount set aside for this year’s subsidies was the biggest in national history.
“For now, the government will keep an eye on the situation. The move to delay mega projects is one of the measures that can be studied and considered to ensure the country’s financial position remains strong,” said Mustapa.
Meanwhile, an economist believes that delaying mega projects to foot subsidy bill is bad policy.
“Long-term investments and development spending are exactly what the economy needs because public and private investments have suffered badly in the last two years,” Malaysia University of Science and Technology’s Geoffrey Williams told Free Malaysia Today.
2) Affordable housing continue to be Malaysia’s priority
Prioritised since the ‘70s, the provision of adequate and affordable housing remain high on Malaysia’s agenda, said Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican.
In fact, the country’s National Affordable Housing Policy is committed to building around 500,000 affordable homes by 2025, he said.
The Housing and Local Government Ministry, on the other hand, had established a committee last year to coordinate the implementation of 500,000 affordable housing units during the duration of the 12th Malaysia Plan from 2021 to 2025, reported Bernama.
He also shared about the Home Ownership Programme or HOPE, noting that the programme’s approach is guided by five fundamental principles – namely, affordability, availability, quality, accessibility to financing and liveability.
He added that Malaysia also introduced several environmental and social policies which transcend from national to the local levels to ensure sustainable and inclusive urbanisation.
“We envision a Liveable Malaysia, a nation that progresses economically while allowing the environment to thrive and Malaysians to prosper,” said Reezal Merican.
3) Property sales rebound strongly in 2H 2021, before dropping 28% in Q1 2022
Malaysia saw property sales – which was boosted by the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) – rebound strongly during the second half of 2021, despite the lockdowns.
In the first quarter of 2022, property sales moderated following the end of the HOC in December 2021, reported The Borneo Post.
On an aggregate basis, property sales for Q1 2022 dropped 28% quarter-on-quarter and 34% year-on-year, said Loong Kok Wen, Analyst at RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd (RHB Research).
And while developers under the coverage of RHB Research “maintained their sales targets for the year (as 1H sales are typically weaker compared to 2H), we foresee some downside risks ahead”.
“For 2022, although the property market should benefit from the re-opening of the economy, the uncertainties brought about by the rising inflationary pressure, weakening ringgit, and the looming recession risk in the western countries could potentially hit demand recovery,” she said.
4) Johor urged to focus on renting instead of home ownership
The Johor Housing Development Corporation (PKPJ) has been urged to shift gears in formulating its housing policies by focusing on other concepts such as rentals instead of home ownership.
Johor DAP Chief Liew Chin Tong explained that the shift in focus should be supported by laws and regulations aimed at protecting both the tenants and owners, reported Free Malaysia Today.
He added that promoting renting as a housing norm will prevent “fire sale” of residential properties, particularly in cases where owners are unable to pay their instalments due to a hike in interest rate.
Liew underscored that Johor Bahru has been plagued with “a massive housing glut” as developers ignored the demand for affordable homes in favor of high-end residential projects.
“There are many who need housing, especially the B40 and even M40, because over the years developers have chosen to build high-end houses instead of affordable ones,” he said.
5) Council issues 62 notices for removal of illegal extensions
Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) has issued 62 notices for removal of illegal extensions at Flat PKNS AU3 in Taman Keramat. The unit owners will have to remove the extensions at their own cost within the stipulated period.
MPAJ Public Relations Officer Norhayati Ahmad said the enforcement action was a follow-up on the demolition of an illegal extension that was under construction in Block 4 – a video of which has gone viral on social media, reported The Star.
She revealed that 58 out of the 62 units with illegal extensions were located on the ground floor, while the other four were found on the first floor.
“Among the illegal extensions found were permanent walls, awnings, gates and porches built on government land,” she said.
“Renovating existing structures or building additional ones on the side or back of any stratified developments like flats, apartments and condominiums is not allowed.”
6) MPAJ draft plan should provide more details on new highway
With the construction of the Kuala Lumpur Northern Dispersal Expressway (KL Node) project reportedly approved by the Federal Government, more information regarding the highway project should have been integrated in the draft Ampang Jaya Municipal Council Local Plan (RT MPAJ) 2035, said stakeholders.
This comes as part of the proposed alignment for the highway would be cutting through the municipality, which means more homes and properties may be acquired to make way for the project, reported The Star.
Taman Kelab Ukay resident Danny Ong said details such as the concessionaire and alignment were crucial to enable residents to provide feedback in an informed manner.
Taman Hijau resident Dr Harris Abd Rahman Sabri pointed that several areas within the municipality may see their plot ratio increased.
In Ukay Heights, for instance, the proposed increase was from low, or zero to 20 units per acre, to medium, or 40 to 60 units per acre, in the draft plan.
“This is a hilly area and several locations are categorised as at risk for landslides in the draft plan,” he said. “It also borders forest reserves and green spaces.”
7) Land acquisition for Sungai Baru redevelopment project to continue
The Federal Territories Director of Lands and Mines Office (PPTGWP) will continue land acquisition for the Kampung Sungai Baru, Kampung Baru redevelopment project.
This comes as majority of the residents have approved the redevelopment project, with partnership agreements signed for 27 terrace homes and 192 apartment lots, said PPTGWP Director Datuk Muhammad Yasir Yahya.
He noted that the acquisition was based on explicit legal provisions and adequate compensation was given based on the Property Valuation and Services Department’s assessment, reported Bernama.
“There are parties who are dissatisfied with the compensation who are still appealing to the courts and the courts will re-evaluate the suitable compensation,” he said.