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HOUSING PLANS: Govt should keep track of such projects
10/03/2009 NST By : S.K., Kuala Lumpur

Thousands of families have been affected by abandoned housing projects.

I REFER to your report "Govt takes win-win steps to give housing a better deal" (NST, March 1).

Will the steps, which appear to be developer-biased, ensure that poor people have a roof over their heads? Can the housing and local government minister assure us that all these subsidies and benefits will not result in more abandoned housing projects?

Look around us. There are numerous abandoned medium- and low-cost housing projects in Malaysia.

In Selangor, throw a stone and you are likely to hit an abandoned housing project. Does the minister have plans for these projects?

Millions of ringgit have been lost by locals and foreigners to unscrupulous and incompetent developers over the decades. Tens of thousands of families have been affected by abandoned projects.

They used up their savings, children's education funds and money from the Employees' Provident Fund. Some are still repaying bank loans for a property that they may never use or be able to sell.

Some banks have foreclosed and auctioned these properties.

Encouraging foreigners to buy homes in Malaysia? Think again. It is not just Malaysians who are affected. Errant developers have taken lots of money from foreigners.

The Malaysia My Second Home (MMSH) programme has become Malaysia My No Home programme for some.

I understand that a Singaporean, who had invested hugely in the Malaysian property market and been hit badly by abandoned projects, now attends property fairs in Singapore to warn Singaporeans about investing in Malaysian properties.

Sell foreigners properties that they may not see materialise? It won't just be a Singaporean warning others not to invest in the Malaysian property market.

Can Malaysia and reputable developers in Malaysia afford the negative publicity? What does that do to the reputation of Malaysia and of the MMSH programme?

We are aware that the minister concerned has wide powers to revive abandoned housing projects and to curb potential new ones.

The minister should use those powers to ensure delivery and take errant developers, bridging financiers and banks to task.

Instead of starting new projects which may be abandoned, why not complete abandoned projects?

The ministry must keep in mind that if it doesn't do anything about the abandoned projects, it might find that very few people can even afford the subsidised low-cost houses it promotes.


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