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Implement "Build first ,sell later" concept, Govt urged
MALAY MAIL 07/09/2004

KUALA LUMPUR: With Budget Day drawing near, those in the housing industry are upbeat about the Government introducing the long-awaited "build first, sell later" concept.

It has been discussed three decades ago with the promise of making shoddy workmanship and the housing tribunal a thing of the past.

The concept, which was recently mentioned by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, will depend on the developer.

This is because the quicker they build houses, the sooner they get paid.

Those interviewed yesterday also wanted the Budget to include helping first-time house buyers and a separate authority to handle low-cost housing instead of leaving it to the private sector which is more profit- driven.

* S.K. BROTHERS REALTY, which is involved in the Home Ownership campaign for the last five years to encourage the public to buy a house, feels that the build-and-sell concept requires the Government's will to see its implementation.

Its chief operating officer, Charlie Chan, said since the PM had proposed it recently, banks and Bank Negara should come in.

"What is necessary is for all to sit and discuss the issue which is mainly to provide funding for developers to encourage them to continue building and selling houses.

"With its implementation, we don't need a housing tribunal and the whole works."

Chan also proposed that those who just entered the job market to be given incentives to enable them to buy houses.

He said a separate entity, probably called the "Public Housing Authority" should be set up to look into building and maintaining low-cost housing costing RM42,000 and below, similar to the Housing Development Board (HDB) in Singapore.

"With this new authority, the Government should take over the construction of low-cost units and build them at the right place, considering the land mostly belongs to the Government.

"It can then offer affordable units and have them well-maintained too." He said low-cost housing involves 50 per cent of those needing housing in the country.

* NATIONAL HOUSEBUYERS ASSOCIATION, MALAYSIA, (HBA) honorary secretary- general, Chang Kim Loong, supports the `build and sell' concept saying it is timely.

He proposed that 10 per cent of the purchase price be used as down payment which must be paid into the stakeholder's account as a neutral party to avoid a situation.

Chang said if the money went to a developer's account, they could wind up and make off with the money.

He said the down payment could show the strength of its clients to obtain a loan while the remaining 90 per cent could be paid to the developer upon completion after one or two years.

"If the developer is interested, he should carry out the construction fast and get paid sooner."

He said if the houses have been built, the buyers have the liberty to check for shoddy workmanship.

"We support the Prime Minister's aspirations in this concept which he had raised."

With the 10 per cent as down payment of the purchase price, he said the developer could still survive and if the concept is realised, it would not kill the housing industry.

He said they also want the Government to look into abandoned and overhung housing projects, and civil servants be given a lower housing loan interest, which is currently at four per cent.


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