- Affordable housing is an issue whose severity is jointly agreed by the previous and current government. Pakatan Harapan in its manifesto, commented on the ineffectiveness of PR1MA in delivering its mandate and committed that it will develop 1 million affordable homes.
- Affordable housing delivery under the Barisan Nasional government was fragmented – surprising given the fact that it is such an important issue, unsurprising if you consider that perhaps everyone wants to take credit. There were four (4) ministries involved in affordable housing with every state having policies obligating developers to develop housing below a certain price as part of their larger development.
MOF has Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad (SPNB), KPKT has MyHome, PMO has PPA1M and PR1MA and Federal Territories Ministry has RUMAWIP.
- A review of PR1MA reveals that though it was mandated in 2011 to deliver 500,000 homes, it was not well equipped. Land availability was a major stumbling block – it obtained only 108 acres for development and after 7 years of being established, PR1MA only completed 11,000 homes.
- KPKT has called out to the states to request that land be made available for affordable housing development. Selangor was the first (hopefully first of many) to reply that they will allocate land. While this is a good development, there is still room to optimise economies of scale.
- KPKT has spoken to say that a National Housing Council will be established and that a single entity will be created, bringing together PR1MA, UDA Holdings, SPNB, RUMAWIP, PPRT, PPA1M under one roof. These statements begs further clarification – will National Housing ‘Council’ be like ‘Council’ of Eminent Persons meaning it is a platform for deliberation? What is required is an entity for delivery. On the single entity to be created, the unavailability of land is still left unaddressed.
- Commissions are useful to centralised delivery and give regulatory powers. Using the example of Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat (SPAD), it was created to address fragmented delivery of public transportation and under one roof, it achieved streamlined planning and delivery.
- Putting #5 and #6 together, I believe KPKT should consider creating a National Housing Commission.At inception, the Commission must receive allocation of land from each state and its role would be to design, develop and manage affordable housing. The commission would also be tasked to do planning and policy research, which among other things, coordinate collection of data so demand and supply on a district level could be analysed.
Given the size of acreage and standardised designs, the commission should work with supplier to order in bulk so material costs can be driven down. As designs are standardised, the commission may engage contractors to construct. States must give discounts to land premiums and statutory costs and if MOF can consider, facilitation fund should be provided for external infrastructure costs should certain lands require additional infra to improve accessibility.
As a matter of governance, the commissioners can consist of representatives of each State as well as private sector players.
The government of the day should learn from past shortcomings and its idea of a single entity must be properly enabled at inception – it would be unfortunate to see a half-baked entity complaining of tied hands down the road.