Development of Malay reserve land facilitates home ownership in urban areas

KUALA LUMPUR: The development of Malay reserve land, particularly for constructing more affordable housing, can provide greater opportunities for Bumiputera to become homeowners, especially in the city centre area.

Honorary professor at the Institute of Ethnic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Prof Dr Mansor Mohd Noor, believed that the move could also help balance the position of the Bumiputera in urban areas, which is crucial for fostering unity.

"This development planning needs to be comprehensive, encompassing the construction of affordable housing alongside commercial zones and complete infrastructure facilities to ensure a conducive living environment.

"Priority also can be given to small and medium industry players to help them compete in the city centres and at the same time serve a source of income or bring economic spillover for the Bumiputera in the surrounding areas," he said when contacted.

He also emphasised the importance of strict implementation to ensure that the benefits reach the M40 and B40 Bumiputera groups in city centres who are in greater need of such facilities than those financially capable of competing in the urban property market.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, during his speech at the closing ceremony of the Bumiputera Economic Congress 2024 in Putrajaya on Saturday, announced the establishment of the MADANI Housing Scheme on Malay reserve land, with the target to develop 2,500 affordable housing units at an expedited rate.

He also gave assurance that 200 acres (80.9 hectares) of government land, including 50 acres (20.23 hectares) of land in Bandar Malaysia, would remain under Malay ownership to ensure the availability of affordable housing for Malays in the urban areas.

To ensure the effectiveness and successful implementation of this plan, Mansor hoped the government would only grant building permits to those with a proven track record to prevent misuse by individuals seeking opportunities within the Bumiputera community facilities.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Malay Contractors Association (PKMM) president Datuk Seri Mohamed Fadzill Hassan described efforts to safeguard Malay reserve land as 'crucial to be done now' for the future Bumiputera generation.

He said development in Malay reserve land would also increase the market value of the land and buildings on it, including affordable housing, and at the same time stimulate economic growth for related industry players.

"I hope that plans for Malay reserve lands are truly implemented because there are still underdeveloped lands despite their strategic locations and potential.

"As time passes, it becomes increasingly challenging for the Malay and Bumiputera generations to afford homes, especially in urban areas, due to excessively high prices. If the government does not take action to safeguard Malay reserve land now, (then) who else will?" he said.

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