Tuesday, January 21

Zuraida wants to meet Abg Johari on affordable housing matters

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KUCHING: Federal Local Government and Housing Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin has said that she needs to meet Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg next month to discuss matters pertaining to affordable housing, because arguments over housing policies have heated up of late.

“Housing is quite critical. The state has to adhere to our federal policy before we can approve allocation for affordable housing schemes (in Sarawak),” Zuraida told reporters here yesterday.

She also said some of the approaches on this matter had to be standardised, pointing out that in the past, Sarawak had its own policy that was not in line with that of the federal government.

“I have to come here and meet the CM and the housing exco (Sarawak Local Government and Housing Ministry) and see if they can work with us, accept and apply federal policy here. If not, then we have to use other mechanisms,” she said.

Zuraida said the federal ministry had to make a decision on this matter and it was not for Sarawak to do so.

She also said her ministry’s coordinators had identified 11 parcels of land in Sarawak slated for affordable housing schemes in the future – those in Kuala Baram (Miri), Kidurong (Bintulu), Mukah, Song (Kanowit), Pandaruan (Limbang), Sri Aman and Beratok (Serian) as well as in Muara Tebas, Pasir Panjang, Pasir Pandak and Pasir Salak (Kuching).

However, she said she was not too keen on the one at Kuala Baram because it was not strategic and was without proper infrastructure – to have affordable housing schemes there would not be cost-effective.

She also said the coordinators had identified three or four parcels of federal land, which could be used for the schemes, and would be classified as federal schemes.

On another matter, Zuraida said her ministry had approved in principle a total of RM7.5 million for four new people-centric projects in Sarawak.

The projects are street lighting along a dark stretch from Jalan Kota Padawan to Kampung Annah Rais costing about RM3 million, improving the drainage and flood mitigation in the Mas Gading parliamentary constituency (RM3 million), upgrading of Kampung Podam bridge located at the border between Mas Gading and Puncak Borneo parliamentary constituencies (RM500,000), and repair works on a rundown bridge at Kampung Pinang Jawa, Petra Jaya here (RM1 million).