PETALING JAYA (March 21): Deputy Local Government Development Minister Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir said he is worried about the increasing number of problematic housing projects in the country after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Akmal, who is leading the Sick and Abandoned Housing Project Taskforce, said the number of sick, delayed or abandoned projects — which has risen to about 1,007 — is expected to increase further, due to the end of the extension of time for many projects, which was previously granted during the pandemic.
“It is actually quite scary in terms of how many projects that we expect will be problematic this year. If we are not transparent about this, then we may not be able to access the best medication to resolve it,” he said during his keynote address at the Rehda Institute Regional Housing Conference 2023.
The deputy minister hopes to not only resolve the problematic projects, but to prevent them from becoming an “illness” that Malaysia will continue to face.
“The task force is not just to track and prevent the number [of problematic projects], but to come up with some forward modelling to tackle these issues. We should take seriously the suggestions and recommendations by Rehda (the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association of Malaysia) and Rehda Institute,” Akmal said.
He also said the “real change” will not be achieved by political will alone, but the efforts of everyone to improve the situation.
Other key issues Akmal said the industry faces is that buyers are not “in the mood” to invest in property because of the economic uncertainties, and the frequent change in the government’s direction for the industry due to changes in the ruling regime over the past three years.
“For the housing industry [under the current unity government], [Prime Minister] Datuk Seri [Anwar Ibrahim] has made it clear on the way we want to measure development, and it is not just infrastructure. That is why the industry had to make the shift, as it is not just about housing but the lifestyle [of the people],” Akmal said.
He commended Rehda Institute’s initiative to organise a study tour to regional cities including Singapore in May 2023 to look at best housing practices and housing construction technologies.
“In approaching the Singapore counterparts, this is a big issue raised by the opposition. In fact, the [Singapore] housing board is coming this week, and I would be the one to welcome them since the minister may be abroad.
"Hopefully, all this racial perspective they (the opposition) want to put on the government won’t be an issue anymore, because if we are talking about nation-building, it is not [about] race and religion, but our well-being,” Akmal said.
Lastly, he said the government is committed to reviewing and revamping the National Housing Policy to bring significant impact towards housing development, especially on affordability and accessibility in Malaysia.