BY JULIE NGADAN & NURA V LORNA
Sarawakians who want to buy houses now can apply for the Housing Deposit Assistance Scheme (HDAS), which offers RM10,000, to help pay the deposit.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said HDAS was introduced to help those in the B40 and M40 groups.
New Sarawak Tribune’s Julie Ngadan and Nura V Lorna, accompanied by photographer Mohd Alif Noni, sat down with Mutiara Mortgage and Credit Sdn Bhd (Mutiara) chief executive officer Shaharony Mat Nor to find out more.
New Sarawak Tribune: Tell us about Mutiara Mortgage and Credit Sdn Bhd.
Shaharony Mat Nor: Mutiara Mortgage and Credit Sdn Bhd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Housing Development Corporation (HDC), Sarawak.
It was established on Feb 5, 1993 and was known as SP Pembangunan Sdn Bhd. On Dec 22, 1994, its name was changed to Mutiara Perumahan Sdn Bhd. An initiative of our present chief minister, who is also the former Minister of Housing, he decided to set up the mortgage unit to help the lower-income group towards their dream of owning a house. The company’s name was changed to Mutiara Mortgage and Credit Sdn Bhd on Aug 1, 2013. On June 17, 2015, Mutiara Housing Loan Scheme was launched.
As the state’s best non-banking financier, we assist house buyers to enjoy financing that combines features, value and benefits.
We also offer a flexible home financing scheme to suit the needs of house buyers.
The Sarawak government has given you the responsibility to handle HDAS. What is it and what does it do?
HDAS was introduced by the state government last year for implementation in 2022. An allocation of RM10 million was provided and would be managed by us (Mutiara).
Its objective is to provide cash assistance of 10 per cent of property purchase price or RM10,000 (whichever is lower) to B40 and M40 first-time home buyers for payment of deposit.
To be eligible, the applicant must be a first-time home buyer, belong to the B40 or M40 group, a Sarawakian with the status of Permanent Resident, purchased property only from our registered developers, and Sales and Purchase Agreement or booking / Sales Confirmation Slip issued by a developer that is dated not earlier than Oct 12, 2021.
This scheme is also only applicable to affordable housing projects sanctioned by the state government subject to the maximum price of RM300,000.
Apart from that, those who wish to build a house on their land (which has been approved by the Land and Survey Department) on allotment of land under the Village Expansion Scheme (SPK) or Resettlement Scheme (SPS) are also eligible.
For the purchase of a house using this scheme, the buyer must first identify the house from which developer they want to buy — the developer must be registered with us (Mutiara) — then, the developer would help the buyer to apply for HDAS. With this, buyers do not have to go to our office to apply.
How can you help the low-income groups realise their dreams of owning their own homes?
There are Sarawakians who face problems in obtaining financing from banks. It is for this reason that the initiative to set up Mutiara came about.
For financing applications, we have our way of doing credit assessment to assist house buyers.
As a financing and housing deposit assistance agency, how can you convince first-time home buyers that you are a better option?
We provide financing of up to 100 per cent and charge a fixed profit rate throughout the financing period at one per cent per annum and housing deposit assistance to eligible applicants. Our Islamic financing product has been certified as shariah compliance.
In addition, the government exempt stamp duties on all legal documents.
For HDAS, we will provide deposit assistance of 10 per cent of the property purchase price or construction price, or RM10,000, whichever is lower.
For example, if a buyer buys a house priced at RM100,000, we will provide deposit assistance of RM10,000 (10 per cent of the property purchase price), and the remaining RM90,000 will be paid by the buyer.
However, it is also subject to the buyer’s home financing from the bank. For example, a buyer buys a house worth RM100,000 and passes a full loan from the bank. For this situation, they are not eligible to receive such assistance.
Apart from that, we prioritise home financing involving government housing projects, including the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) as well as other government agencies.
However, we also consider offering to finance involving housing projects from private developers on the condition that the developers must fully develop the house complete with an occupation permit (OP).
We do so to protect the people (buyers) from abandoned housing projects. We will not interfere in the affairs of abandoned projects or housing schemes that are still under construction.
What about those who want to build on their own land?
They must come to our office to get the application form and submit the application directly to us without involving a third party.
However, these applicants need to ensure that their land is under their name.
There are some cases where the applicant is not eligible to receive this deposit assistance scheme, among them, the land is inherited from parents and the land is not under the SPK or SPS programmes. However, they are entitled to apply for financing to build a house.
Besides that, for this option, we have set a standard house design. Landowners cannot build the house with their design. The contractor or developer registered (with us) will only build the house based on the design we provide. For now, the house design is still under planning and discussion.
What about the construction cost to build a house on their land?
We set the construction cost from RM90,000 to RM160,000. For now, we are still in discussions to finalise a house design as the cost (of building a house) is currently very high due to rising material prices. What is important is that we will ensure that the design of the house commensurate with the expected cost and is affordable to applicants.
This programme will be implemented soonest because it is one of the initiatives that will give many advantages to all parties.
As for the monthly payment, it depends on the applicant’s ability (to pay) as most are low-income or have irregular income. So, we will do a questionnaire about the amount they can afford.
This payment standard is intended to not burden the buyer. We want them to own the house first and then payment.
Besides financing products, we may offer to buyers a Rent to Purchase programme. This product is mainly for buyers who have no evidence of income and credit history. Mutiara will purchase the house and rent it for three years. Like a trial period for the buyer. If the rental payment is prompt during the period, we will sell the house to the customer at the original price we bought and offer home financing.
How many have used your services so far?
For the record, Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia that has such an initiative. To date, we have over 800 customers and during the four years of operation, none of the people from the B40 and M40 groups who took the home financing from Mutiara has ever defaulted in their repayments.
As of Jan 10, eight developers have been registered with Mutiara. Do you plan to increase this number?
Yes, we are committed to establishing more cooperation with housing developers throughout Sarawak to register under HDAS.
We will hold a roadshow to meet with all the housing developers soon to provide information on HDAS. We will also get information from them on the number of affordable housing projects that they can offer.
For your information, all developers need to send an application to us to be a panel for housing projects implemented under HDAS.
Apart from that, we are currently in the process of developing an app with housing developers called Property Axis. Through this app, all developers can register directly with us to be a panel member. Applicants who want to see the list of housing developers can also use this app.
For now, Mutiara already has eight approved developers and six more are still in the process. We will update the list from time to time through our official website https://mutiaracredit.com.my/.