HBA calls on govt to re-evaluate PRR selling approach

KUALA LUMPUR: The National House Buyers Association of Malaysia (HBA) calls on the government to reevaluate the approach of selling the Program Residensi Rakyat (PRR) housing units at a discounted price.

HBA honorary secretary-general Datuk Chang Kim Loong said the units under the project should not be sold, but instead only be rented to deserving applicants among others as a form of transit home.

"This is where the lower income groups can stay in relative comfort and pay low rents while they work towards improving their economic livelihood," he said in a statement today.

The PRR was announced by the Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming on March 8, in which under the new housing model, each unit with a construction cost of RM300,000 will be sold at RM60,000 with up to RM15,000 out of the payment will be set aside for maintenance and sinking funds.

Chang foresaw selling the PRR units at such a discounted price would cause more harm, including exploitation of rental or resell prices by profiteers, which in turn thwarts the efforts to solve the issue of affordable housing for lower-income groups in the long run.

Instead, Chang, while being consistent on the idea that the new housing model should be a 'transit home' should it become a reality, suggested ministries to work together and run skills training or re-training at the PRR units to teach marketable skills to the residents so they could find better jobs.

He is also of the opinion that a rental review of the PRR residents should be conducted at least once every five years to ensure that only deserving applicants continue to stay.

"Residents who have already improved on their economic livelihood should move out and make way for more deserving applicants. In fact, on the induction for the residents, the ministry should emphasise that the PRR units are meant as "transit home" until they can graduate to buying their own property," he said.

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