KUALA LUMPUR – The government, through the Housing and Local Government Ministry, has been doing an admirable job of trying to make the housing delivery system as smooth as possible to ensure that the people would have access to affordable homes.
However, this has not been an easy task to undertake as housing falls under the jurisdiction of state governments — each one with its own set of guidelines and requirements that may sometimes go beyond those provided by the federal government.
Such requirements have had an impact on the cost of development, and ultimately, the affordability of houses, said Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda).
Given the current scenario, government assistance is crucial to reduce the cost of doing business, which would subsequently help to give a much-needed boost to the affordable housing segment.
For development costs to remain sustainable, the government needs to take steps such as not imposing any more new conditions or new charges or raising contribution charges by utility companies and local authorities, it said.
“Besides, the federal government should also advocate for standardised guidelines and rules to be adopted nationwide, especially those which could benefit all parties,” the leading representative body for private property developers told Bernama in its wishlist for Budget 2022.
Rehda also hoped that the government would extend the ongoing measures taken to help the property industry, and introduce new ones to boost its recovery in light of the ongoing pandemic and its prolonged impact on the industry.
“The most urgent one needed by the industry currently is the amendment of the Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Act 2020 with regards to contractual obligations to account for the Movement Control Order (MCO) 2, MCO 3, Enhanced MCO, Full MCO and National Recovery Plan Phases One and Two.
“Amendment of the Act is important to protect the interests of the affected parties for their inability to meet the contractual obligations due to reasons which are beyond their control,” it said.
Rehda also wished for the government to take steps to ensure the stabilisation of building material prices like steel bars, which has been fluctuating in recent years.
“We also hope the government would review or abolish some measures introduced when the property market was at its peak, as they might not be relevant for now.
“Additionally, the government could consider the downward revision of the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT), with zero imposition for properties disposed of from the sixth year onwards, as well as the total removal of the Loan-To-Value (LTV) ratio for the purchase of third property onwards,” it said.
Additionally, it also hoped that the long outstanding issue of foreign workers in the construction industry would be resolved.
Meanwhile, National Housebuyers Association (HBA) honorary secretary-general Datuk Chang Kim Loong wished that the government would reduce the income tax for individuals affected by COVID-19 and ensure that deserving individuals are given access to financing, especially for first-time house buyers.
“We also hope that developers building affordable homes costing RM300,000 and below would be given incentives.
“Besides, we hope the government would repeal the RPGT which is currently at five per cent for disposal of property held for more than five years, and increase RPGT rates for disposal of third and subsequent property,” said Chang.
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