Attended a discussion on low-income housing in Malaysia and these were some of the points that surfaced.

Federal/state policy on low-income housing has failed.

Accessibilty and universal design (including pedestrian access) is often indequate. Public transport connections especially outside urban centres are lacking.

What we have instead is property-centric development that is geared toward the top one to five per cent, whether for business or residential property development.

This is fuelled by property speculation, which has driven up prices, not just of top-end housing, but across the board. Higher housing prices have resulted in increased household indebtedness as buyers have to take bigger housing loans to buy homes.

This has often resulted in long-established communities being driven out of the land they had been living on for generations. The compensation offered is often a pittance – usually not enough for alternative housing – and scandalous especially considering the huge profits that developers stand to make.

Why are people unable to afford new homes? Apart from higher prices, low wages are partly responsible.

State intervention in the provision of low-income housing appears to have been abandoned. In the past, state agencies used to develop entire townships for the working class.

Nowadays, instead of state agencies building social housing on state land, state governments prefer to sell their land to private developers, who then engage in building housing targeted at the top 5 per cent. (No wonder there is a glut of such housing now at a time when those in the bottom half of the population are unable to afford decent homes.)

In many urban areas, property speculation has resulted in the lower-income group being pushed to the fringes and they thus have to spend more on transport to commute work in the absence of property public transport. In Penang, this means that more and more people are forced to live on the mainland and travel to work on the island.

But the tunnel project has also meant that property speculation is now beginning to be felt in mainland areas like Bagan Ajam. This will propel property prices in nearby areas as well.

The Prima housing projects that were promised before GE13 are moving at a glacial pace (apart from Pahang).

So, there has been a turn to the private sector. Developers are now expected to build a percentage of their housing for the lower-income groups – but they are reluctant as profit margins for such projects are thin. As a result, the quality and design of low-cost housing is often suspect.

Rubbish disposal and maintenance in such housing is often poor. (The notable exceptions appear where people have been empowered to decide on how their areas have been run under projects run by PWDC.)

Little thought has been given to the housing of migrant workers. Where do they live? This is glaring as migrants make up around 15 per cent of the population.

The gender aspect needs to be considered as well. Do new projects make provision the needs of single mothers?

What about child-care creches?

Rural areas and village such as Penanti should be spared the onslaught of the high-rise concrete jungle to preserve their unique way of life. Heritage conservation should not be limited to inner city George Town – though even there, gentrification has changed the traditional way of life while traditional inner city communities were displaced.

Indeed, housing should not be considered merely as a commodity that needs to be supplied, but the vision of housing should look at the entire way of life of local communities and their needs.

We need to look at housing models around the world that have worked. What kind of policies for housing do they have in countries such as Venezuela?

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44 COMMENTS

  1. If Najib’s BN government is serious about affordable housing, then he should have a dedicated Minister of PR1MA among his 10 ministers in his PM office.

  2. This after almost 6 decades of independence. The provision of basic services and infrastructure by the public sector at reasonable cost undermines capitalism/privatisation/profiteering. The leading opportunities for profiteering are housing (closing one eye to land grabs, exorbitant houses and poor quality), transport (compelling you to buy cars) and health (closing one eye to sources of illness). Anyone against this order must be a Communist. We see the extreme result in USA and much of Europe where many are now jobless, homeless and slaves of banks.

    • This is the indecent reality of commercialism + privatisation of economy. Apparently offering a great deal of opportunities to earn, make profits, squeeze the ‘life-work-force’ of the workers with low pay & enjoy excessive consumption, the downside is not too apparent to those still wet-in-the-ears chasing like wide-eyed wannabes to be rich & famous at all costs. Not until they themselves face it one day (being unemployed, faced ageism @ work, physically handicapped, bankrupt).

      Politics + corporate marriage is the chameleon against trusting voters. When put in power to rule, these politicians are easily brain-washed to believe in the mirage of future’s development presented by corporate honchos in swap-deal dark rooms without the light of decency of purpose for the betterment of socio-economic landscape. CHANGE is more for the indecent agendas of these chameleon politicians. We are truly SHORT-CHANGED.

      Until there is mass awakening of a paradigm shift, the rots will spread & sink in affecting our way of life & most probably enslave us (for life) to an apparently globalised economy of mirage goodies & the good life not envisioned in the Maslow’s hierarchy of decent needs pyramid.

      Cry foul like an idiot in the soccer field of glittering World Cup. I am a … trusting soul in a decent God (not a CAT Deity or man-voted Idol).

      • Tungkang’s Manglish is complicated and twisted. Shoukd keep it short and simple to drive the message. No need for those unwarranted metaphors that do not make sense aside from syiok sendiri.

  3. Rapid Bus can improve to encourage more (low, middle, rich) to take buses to work to help improve traffic.
    That is what Tunglang meant. Just being practical (unless one doesn’t mind always late to work).
    Nothing to do with low income group.

      • It was tungkang who first implied (although he is not direct because of his complicated English) that RapidBus is not for rich people like him whose time is money and should not be used waiting for bus arrival.

    • First we have cw’f’, now we have dw, next we may have wtf (—are you talking).
      Btw, wtf is too complicated an acronym to wrestle or to understand for simple Ah Too brain like dw.
      W is for wrestling or can be for What (—the). dw, get it or still not???

      • To make it less complicated for wd.
        If you are into slang-lingo, wtf is easily mispronounced as wdf. Also can lah.
        Manglish is added fun, no need to always talk like ke eng-kok phiau as in WD40 Oil Label made in China!

  4. many blame high cost not knowing one major root cause is the depreciating ringgit that favours only the rich enterprises that do export business. Cheap ringgit for them to expand market at the expense of quality and productivity (eg cheap foreign labor wages suppressing minimum real wages). These enterprises including SMEs fail to innovate with technology hence always depend on cheap labour. When ringgit fares so poorly with other foreign currencises, the locals will have to bear more to purchase daily essentials otherwise just get to go by with sub-standard products (for example local trans-fat mono saturated majerin instead of healthier imported butter).

  5. Tungkang’s cat. He says Gomen has land but former gerakan government says not much. Of coursr tunglang is more cat. Where are the lands? But tunglang will oppose if the land is made botak. Tunglang wants land for fish farms for former fishmen. Where to get continuous fresh water? He do rain dance everyday?

    • Use your brain when implying botaking hills is AOK when you desperately spoke about water scarcity for farm use!
      Drink more Sg Pinang Black Tea to clear your point of muddle views.

      • Sg pinang is more to your taste. Kopi o is all black. What contribution? Driving 4 wheel drive in the city most of the time and bark at how slow are the RAPID buses. Why not have a good look at yourself before barking at others.

      • Talking in support of gerakan bn federal government. Of education can possible change but doubtful under tunglang gerakan bn federal government. Happen to the campaign cinta sungai2? People are still dumping in the water catchment area and treating longkang as waste disposal area. Tunglang social justice is the poor must also live in penang possible in mote prestigous area. He liken cat must be perfect, bettet than what Singapore, Australian or uk government can do for its people. He diety id none other than gerakan-umno federal government

      • cw’f’, spin like a fool with no proof of my BN support but character assassination.

        MY CHALLENGE to you:
        Ask Teng Chang Yeow whether I gave my support to Gerakan or BN in any way, secretly or publicly or being paid for spinning.
        Caveat: If you can’t do it for any reason, you are proven a playing-the-fool for CAT Deity.

  6. There were people who used to buy cheaper flats/apartments for investments, and these very same people were also the ones who cried out to DAP to protect the poor from the housing woes, and the pg state govt did that to curb these greedy investors from speculatings which was lauded by pg forum, so these greedy investors cannot cari untung to suck the poor anymore, so blame la lim guan eng…

    Herman is right, migrate to a small town if the city living is too expensive for us…

    I note that some penangnites they want penang exclusively for themselves only, how can ???

    What i see in these people are selfishness and nothing else.

    In short, they want the cake and eat it too. There is no such thing on earth maybe that Eutopia can be found on the other side of the shore !!!

    • It is evident that those who used to make money from housing buy-sell transaction could not do so now in Penang and choose to blame CAT and the state government. Now they are pretending to fight for low cost housing. Quite ironic.

      On the bright side, high property prices may encourage the children to live with their parents even after they are married. Two generations living under the same roof will promote better family values.

      • hahah 2 generation u nder a 500 – 700 sq ft flat. Promote better family ties or the contrary

      • Yang,s sustainable development. Wife, son,daughters, grandparents have their own car and own big property and tunglang social fairness.

      • Very difficult to satisfy the low income group with any form of low cost housing as they tend to have large family unit that is difficult to fit into two-room apartment?

        We can imagine those high rise/high density PR1MA housing will be very densely populated. Each unit should have a balcony (may sacrifice living space), else how do they dry their laundry? The corridors and walkway are likely to be cramped and impeded with belongings (bicycle, collected stuff for recycling sale…), raising alarm to safety hazard in time of emergency evacuation?

        The problems above will be amplified if you expect such low cost housing to cost no more than RM200K. This is my realistic point of view.

      • OWC, you are discriminating against the low income group for their culture & behaviour. Are you saying thro’ the back lane way that Cosmopolitan Penang is now not right for low cost housing due to bing chui factor?
        People can be educated, like the no plastic bag ruling.
        So, CAT promise of social equality for all (strata of society) is now no longer applicable in Coast-mud-Politan Penang just for the rich & famous?

      • Who is discriminating against the low income group for their culture & behaviour when complaining about RapidPenang – the affordable mode of transport for low income group despite long waiting time?

  7. Last Thursday R&F properties (China developer that bought RM4.3 billion land in Johor) placed 4 broadsheets of advertisement attaching to the cover of Singapore’s Straits Times and Lianhe ZhaoPao, the Pricess Cove project on reclaimed land next to the causeway. The same advertisement also appeared on NST yesterday as the showroom is now open with free gifts for visitors.

    This week The Summer Residence (TSR) serviced apartment is launched at JB. The 2-room (756 sq ft) unit starts at RM799,000!

    Property prices in big cities/towns in malaysia are high, not just in Penang.
    If you cannot stomach the high price, then migrating to a small town is an option.

  8. Did I not ask you all to buy land and properties in Bagan Ajam. Sooner or later prices of properties on the mainland and island will be almost on par no thanks to the CAT. And we don`t know whether the tunnel will be built at all but land in the Tanjong Tokong and Gurney areas have already been hijacked when the tunnel is still a long way from completion.

    • That’s the price of 308?
      The price of putting trust on a social justice champion & caring promises of cakap-cakap besar?
      The price of praying to a CAT Deity without blemishes or accountability?
      The price of Cosmopolitan Penang Frenzied pursued arrogantly?

  9. Many problems mentioned herein would be gone or solved if only this Najib has kept the promise he made before the last GE. A promise to build one million affordable houses if he was to remain in Putrajaya. Now that he is at Putrajaya, has he forgotten about this promise ? It can’t be especially when he is able to jet around and even jetted his way back from Xian in China just to pay his last respect to the late sultan of Perak and then jetted back to China to be served with a 10 minute cooked egg.

    He could not have been able to claim that the Chinese gave him to take back to Malaysia a 10 billion investment. No question that the Chinese gave him just a 10 minute cooked egg they could have given him more than one 10 minute cooked egg. Why did he bring back a terracotta warrior after all he went to Xian where the terracotta warriors are. The Chinese have thousands of them and could have made one for him to bring back to Malaysia. Instead just a memory that he was served with a 10 minute boiled egg in China, is that all he deserved for being the PM of Malaysia !

  10. Social housing : State vs Private issue requires a paradigm shift in thinking among the common folks.
    Forget about the comfort zone not wanting to wait for buses to work. Once familiarized with the timings of bus arrivals then waiting a breeze (can listen to music or read anil.com on tablet white waiting for bus)/
    Next sell off your private and don’t be a slave to the borrowing financial institutions. Motor vehicles are expensed item that depreciates by seconds. Money saved do invest in houses that appreciates over time. RM300-RM500K house/condo/flats should be available soon once the bubbles gaining momentum to the dismay of Yang menspekulasi.

    • Why should I be dismayed after all its not worth buying flats and apartment for investment and when it is now at sky rocket high. It is the rakyat that will suffer with no more cheap houses for them to buy. 72k house for 250k and at a moratorium of 10 years. Previously 200k and now with GST and higher prices of materials it will be going from 250k – 300k.

      The govt cannot build enough of these houses, the people cannot sell and so there is a shortage. And it is now left to the developer to up their pigeon hole for 450k – 750k from 400 sq ft – 700 sq ft no thanks to the CAT. I`ve got so many offer for my several unit and I told these prospective buyer, please go and see LGE and Jardip. hahahaha and see whether you will get allotted for the 400k house miraged as 72k. Slowly wait my friend. Even the SP Chelliah apartment by the state govt prevously supposed to be at 200k-300k is no more. It is now going from 300k upward for the smallest unit of 680 sq ft up to 600k for a 900 sq ft. Sorry my friend no more 200k, 300k and 400k which the CAT has lied to you. Bagan Ajam land previous selling for RM8 – RM13 psf. just only last year. How much do you think it is selling for now. Go check it out hahahaha

      • Penang state gomen has lands, but cannot build more affordable houses!
        Still stuck in the CAT Accountant Mindset comparing market value or more precisely surreal value & a penchant to only swap / sell lands or future’s land (sea landfills) which could have been used for social housing purposes for Penangites who risked putting their vote trust in them in the first place.
        Can’t get any contractor to subcon state housing projects? Unbelievable.

        Yesterday, I talked to a friend for his laymen’s view of the state of Penang housing & traffic woes. He said: “Many Penangites are frustrated. The long traffic jam at peak time in the direction from Balik Pulau to Bayan Baru stretches (daily) for 3 kilometres before the old town traffic light junction just before the Penang Intl. Airport. Housing is just a rich man’s gamble not even in the dream of average Penangites. Wait for the next GE to usher out the CAT Deity.”

      • Complain not as it is a phenomenon worldwide as Property (houses) is now becoming an investment item because of low interest rate and low return from equity and bond. If you watch the Taiwan TV reports, young generation there could not afford houses in big cities like Taipei and have to rent from the rich who buy properties for investment.

      • Yang says having a car is no longer a luxury. Everyone needs a car to be mobile and a space in the road. If there is no growth in road, to clear land, natural law tells you will be road jam. You use a 4 wheel drive. Then it is very good as many rely on 2 wheels or public transport. It is better to be quiet if there is no solution rather to complain.Maybe the council watch the hills for clearing and the jam is due to double parking.

    • Lapala, Don`t worry there won`t be a bubble. Our ringgit is so undervalue foreigner are snapping up like hot cakes. A RM3 millions condo in Penang and for the same condo in S`pore would cost S5 millions translated would be worth RM13 million can be bought in Penang for about S1 million or only

      • If ringgit is under value, due to gerakan bn federal government. Our uni are also gone down to the drain. China has million millionaires and are willing to pay us dollars for 5 min into space flight. …

    • 4 months ago before the stupid LGE start the control, you can buy a 700 sq ft unit in Penang for 200-300k. Now the same unit is selling 320k – 500k. … but then I should thank him. Like my friend said to me, its a blessing in disguise. Now I just love Bagan Ajam so much and enjoy going back to the St Mark Sec Sch where I once studied. Tradewind is now developing a big chunk of the former RAAF airport. hahahahah

      • 320k-500k for a 700 sq ft apartment is a norm for leased-hold apartment in Johor Iskandar. Currently about RM500-600 psf for leased hold units and RM800-1000 psf for freehold units in JB Iskandar.

        Speaking of RAAF, did you guys in Penang noticed USAF F22 and F15 alongside RMAF MIG29 zooming past your sky in the recent military exercise on Penang/Butterworth airspace? maybe it is a test for the RMAF radar?

      • Yang like umno says people are ingrate, ungrateful. You publicly condemn lgr and cat and never publicly praise him

      • “Yang like umno says people are ingrate, ungrateful. You publicly condemn lgr and cat and never publicly praise him”.

        Are you near suggesting publicly worship a CAT Deity with 3 morning joss sticks + one black chicken facing Komtar Tower?

        Mental Illness Advice: Drink more Sungai Pinang Black Tea to overcome the Ayer Itam Saturday Night market talk withdrawal syndrome. If cannot, ask Elvis Presley, the Mao Wong or if all measures fail (expectedly), consult John Travolta.

      • Your kopi o kau turn into a barking dog at the cat. Nothing to tell but all the barking at the slow rapid bus, traffic jam, botak hill going to belum. In almost every tropic nothing but bark.

    • Where does the state government get their money from? Yang donate them or pay tax to state and not federal government? With gst, penang will be paying more tax but getting less from gerakan bn government. Further, many agencies are under the federal governments like transport licencing including trains, ferries and buses.

      • I have donated so much of property tax to the state govt and I am stopping at it for the time being.

        Things/Items without GST in Malaysia:-

        Basic food like rice, sugar, cooking oil, flour
        Buying and renting of houses
        Buying and selling of agriculture land
        Education
        Public transport
        Health services

      • Yang, sorry to say I am unable to donate unlike you must have a lot of properties. Overnight, you have become a millionaire

    • Wannabe of things SingLand, but when it comes to social housing, play ‘bo lui, bo te, ke gong, ke chhau-hi-lang’.

      Btw, more high-end homes in the offings in Cosmopolitan Penang Frenzied:
      Ivory plans RM1.4bil projects, developing 80-acre land bank in Penang
      http://www.thestar.com.my/Business/Business-News/2014/06/24/Ivory-plans-RM14bil-projects-Group-to-develop-80acre-land-bank-in-Penang-over-the-next-couple-of-yea/

      Wait a minute, tis’ to blame again on Gerakan of pre-308?
      Can’t blame drinkers of Sg Pinang Black Tea + Misai Kucing.

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