Housing developers in Sarawak need not build affordable homes, but have to pay special gov’t affordable housing trust fund

Image courtesy of YAB Tan Sri Abang Johari’s FB

KUCHING, Jan 6: Private housing developers planning on developing large-scale projects in Sarawak are no longer required to build affordable homes starting from the first quarter of this year, Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said today.

Instead, he said developers involved in projects that span 10 acres or more are required to make  compensation in lieu through a housing trust fund which would allow the state government to use these funds for the development of affordable homes on the specific project sites.

“We will implement this in 2024 first quarter…we are amending housing regulations in the state so that we can build quality affordable homes,” he told reporters media after visiting the Sungai Bedaun Housing Project site.

Previously, state laws required the private sector to allocate 30 per cent of their housing schemes or mixed development projects to construct affordable homes when the developed land area is 10 acres (4,047 hectares) or more.

“We will discuss the payment quantum, that is, how much the developer needs to pay per acre to this (state) trust fund based on the value of the land and the project’s location. For example, if 30 per cent involves a total of 50 low-cost housing units, we will assess it based on market prices,” he said.

Abang Johari said the state government’s decision to take control of affordable housing construction was made as some property developers were not serious in developing such projects.

By empowering the state government to oversee the construction of low-cost homes, he hopes to prevent issues of delay in projects such as Sentoria Borneo Samariang Garden, which was supposed to be completed in 2020.

On the Sungai Bedaun Housing Project or Package One, which is part of the Darul Hana Development Project, Abang Johari said it is expected to be fully completed by April and the houses would be available with prices starting at RM99,500 per unit for a living space of 750 square feet.

“Residents will have the flexibility to extend their homes according to the established standards without requiring approval from the North Kuching City Council. The state government will pay a deposit of RM10,000, and the remaining amount will be financed through Mutiara Mortgage and Credit,” he said.

Covering almost 19 hectares and comprising 209 housing units, this project involves extended  families from Kampung Panglima Seman Lama, Kampung Semarang, and Kampung Pulo Ulu in Seberang Hilir, who were selected to purchase homes based on a specified criteria.

Abang Johari said similar affordable housing projects would be expanded to various areas in the state, such as Gedong, Kabong, Asajaya, and Santubong and these would follow the same model and unit price.