KOTA KINABALU (Sept 30): Sabah Urban and Housing Development (LPPB) chairman Datuk Masiung Banah understands the plight of Sabahans who have yet to own houses of their own.
Therefore Masiung is making it his mission to try and build 10,000 units of affordable houses through LPPB so that those who have yet to own houses can do so.
“My vision is to have each unit costing less than RM100,000 so that Sabahans, especially the youths, can afford to purchase one to call their own,” he said.
The Kuamut assemblyman pointed out that when he was previously with the state Youth and Sports Ministry, he engaged with youths especially those who had just joined the workforce.
Most, Masiung disclosed, lamented that they want to buy a house but are unable to afford one.
“These people cannot afford to purchase houses built by private developers, some which cost a minimum of RM500,000 a unit. So if the government has the financial means to do so, it should build houses for the rakyat,” he said.
The sole independent assemblyman in Sabah pointed out that with government subsidy, the cost of the houses can be kept under RM100,000 each.
“My focus is on housing, why? Because having a roof over our heads is the basic need in life. In the past, people in the villages were not concerned about paved roads, electricity or water supply.
“Their main focus was housing because it provides them, their families and possessions, shelter. Therefore the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government should make this issue a priority.
“Maybe it can include building affordable houses for rakyat in its Aku Janji so that it becomes an issue that is prioritized by the government,” Masiung opined, adding that if not, the rakyat may feel that the GRS government has not done anything special other than chase for mega development projects like the Labuan bridge for instance.
“It’s not that we don’t need mega development projects as it is for the rakyat, but these projects must be in tandem with those that is for the people’s wellbeing,” he stressed.
Masiung explained that he does not expect the government to construct the 10,000 units in one year as it can be done in stages over the next four years.
According to him, LPPB has a list of 30,000 applicants waiting for LPPB houses.
“So why not develop LPPB’s land with houses that are subsidized by the state government?” asked Masiung.
“Of course it would be more profitable for LPPB to develop its land with the private sector but now we must think of the rakyat first. LPPB was set up to provide houses for the rakyat but with changing times, it ventured into commercial buildings.
“However we cannot focus too much on the commercial side of things therefore we need to sacrifice some of LPPB’s lands to build houses for the rakyat. We may not get much in terms of revenue but it will be a win-win situation for LPPB and the government,” he stressed.
He opined that if the state government was serious about this, it is not something that is impossible to carry out.
Masiung also touched on the Perkhidmatan Tanah Anak Negeri Sabah (PANTAS) or State Native Land Services programme which was introduced in 2011 to hasten the survey and issuance of land titles on Native Customary Right lands in Sabah.
“This is a good program as it helps the rakyat to obtain the land title to their lands. There was an RM20 million allocation from the federal government for this program but it is not enough,” he said, adding that the state government should add on to the allocation for the program.