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Housing and other social services continue to be a priority of Malaysia's development programmes aimed at improving the quality of life and contributing towards the formation of a caring society. During the Eighth Plan period, the objective of the housing development programmes will be to increase accessibility to adequate, affordable and quality houses for all income groups. Priority will continue to be given to the development of low- and low medium-cost houses. In this regard, both the public and the private sectors will intensify their efforts in the implementation of the housing programmes to meet increasing demand. The provision of other social services will be continued and expanded with a view towards improving the quality of life, inculcating positive values and encouraging self-reliance.
Government initiatives in Eighth Plan Period (2001-2005)
During the Eighth Plan period, efforts will continue to be undertaken to expedite housing development in order to meet the increasing demand of the population, particularly of the low- and low medium-cost houses. Emphasis will also be given to improving the quality of houses built as well as provide suitable locations and a conducive living environment. With regard to other social services, the focus of development will be to continuously improve the quality of services to enhance the well-being of the population.
The policy thrusts in the Eighth Plan for housing and other social services will be as follows:
Providing adequate, affordable and quality houses for all income groups with emphasis on the development of low- and low medium-cost houses.
Improving the delivery and quality as well as expanding the coverage of urban services.
Fostering harmonious living among the various communities as well as building strong and resilient families towards creating a caring society.
Enhancing the aesthetic aspects of life through greater participation in sports and recreation as well as the arts and cultural activities.
During the Plan period, housing needs are estimated to reach a total of 782,300 units due to the growing number of population, formation of new households and the replacement of existing houses, as shown in the Table1.
Of the total, 93.6 per cent will be for new requirements and the balance will be for replacement. The majority of the housing needed will be in Selangor with 13.6 per cent, followed by Sabah with 12.8 per cent, Johor 11.5 per cent and Perak 9.8 per cent. However, only 615,000 units of houses are expected to be built during the Plan period, taking into account the stock overhang in the country and the capacity to supply houses, as shown in the table2.
The Government will continue to provide the necessary support policies and programmes to ensure adequate, affordable and quality housing. This will include the expansion of infrastructure facilities, introduction of appropriate incentives and instituting regulatory measures to ensure efficient housing development. To address the issue of squatters, the findings of the National Study on the Control and Resettlement of Squatters will be used to formulate appropriate policies and guidelines.
During the Plan period, the public sector is expected to construct about 312,000 units of houses or 50.7 per cent of the total target compared with 230,000 units or 29.8 per cent in the previous Plan, as shown in Table 2. Of the total units to be constructed by the public sector, 66.7 per cent will be low-cost houses and houses for the poor. The construction of low-cost houses under PPRB will be expedited to enable all squatters to be relocated by the end of the Plan period.
The development of low-cost housing will be expedited to ensure that those who are eligible will be provided houses, either for rent or sale. In this regard, there will be a change in the implementation strategy, whereby the Federal Government will be involved directly in the selection of suitable locations to expedite construction and to reduce the problem of mismatch between supply and demand for houses. The state governments will handle the sales as well as
the arrangements for end-financing with the financial institutions and will continue to be responsible for the selection of buyers or renters. A revolving fund will be established to finance the project.
In tandem with the revised price for the low-cost houses implemented by the private sector, the price under the Public Low-Cost Housing (PLCH) programme will be reviewed to take into consideration increasing development costs, especially land, infrastructure, construction materials and labour. However, the price will be lower compared with prices for low-cost houses provided by the private sector since the cost of land and infrastructure will continue to be subsidized by the Government. In order to encourage housing developers to construct more low medium-cost houses and to reduce demand pressure on the low-cost category, appropriate policy guidelines will be introduced.
These will include guidelines on prices, specifications and design as well as instituting better planning and control mechanisms. In addition, a proper system of maintenance of high-rise buildings, particularly, the low- and low medium-cost categories will be instituted to ensure that buildings and common facilities as well as other public amenities are well maintained, clean and safe. 18.65 Measures will be undertaken to strengthen the selection system and procedures to ensure proper distribution of low-cost units to the target groups. The centralized database control system at the Ministry of Housing and Local
Government will be enhanced to ensure proper monitoring of such activities. The system will have access to all information in the registries maintained by state governments with regard to the applications for houses provided under the public as well as the private low-cost housing programmes. Steps will also be taken to improve accessibility to end-financing from commercial and financial institutions, particularly for those in the low-income group and the informal sector.
Housing Development in Rural Areas
The provision of housing in the rural areas including basic infrastructure facilities aimed at improving the quality of life of rural people will be continued. In this respect, various housing programmes in rural areas for the low-income group and hardcore poor will be reviewed to ensure the effectiveness of delivery and implementation including the mode and quantum of assistance. In line with these efforts, the allocation for the construction and rehabilitation of dilapidated houses will be increased. In addition, within the Regional Development Authority (RDA) areas, low-cost houses will continue to be provided to the rural population by the respective RDAs
Housing for Public Sector Employees
The Government will continue to provide housing for public sector employees, particularly those in the essential services and those who are working in major towns, border areas as well as in remote areas. Provision of housing to the uniformed personnel will be given priority. During the Plan period, 62,000 units of various housing categories will be provided by the Government throughout the country.
Housing for Estate and Industrial Workers
Efforts will be undertaken to encourage employers to provide housing for estate and industrial workers. The Government will also ensure that they conform to the minimum standards set
under the Workers' Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990.
Housing Technology, Research and Development
The Government will establish the Malaysian Human Settlement and Urbanization Research Institute (MAHSURI) to conduct R&D on issues related to human settlement and urbanization. This will include housing design and technology, especially technical research on alternative building materials as well as industrialized building systems. In addition, studies will also be carried out to formulate a comprehensive policy on housing to ensure sustainable housing development.