KUCHING: A backbencher on Wednesday commended the allocation of RM52 million in the State Budget for the implementation of 21 affordable housing projects by the Housing Development Corporation.
Noting how one of the most basic human needs is housing, Kota Sentosa assemblyman Wilfred Yap said it is pertinent to ensure every Sarawakian has adequate access to affordable housing.
“In this regard, I would like to appeal to the Ministry of Public Health, Housing, and Local Government to consider implementing one low cost plus housing scheme and one affordable housing scheme both integrated with recreational facilities in the state constituency of Kota Sentosa due to its location where there are still pockets of state land,” he said in his debate speech on the Supply Bill (2023) 2022 on yesterday (Nov 23).
Yap pointed out that according to a report by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) under the Premier’s Department based on data from the National Property Information Centre (NAPIC), house prices are higher than most other states in Malaysia.
He said Sarawak’s average house price in 2021 was RM484,592 and if the state were to follow the standard set by the United Nations (UN) and World Bank, houses in Sarawak are severely not affordable.
“One of the contributing factors why house prices are expensive in Sarawak is the high price of cement. Currently, there is only one sole cement supplier and manufacturer in Sarawak.
“The time is appropriate to open up for other players to participate in the supply and manufacture of cement. Opening up Sarawak to other players would ensure a consistent supply of cement and sufficient capacity to meet the state’s increasing demand from the growing construction activities.
“More players in the supply and manufacturing of cement in Sarawak would result in a healthy competition and invariably result in competitive prices of cement.
“Therefore, I call on on the state government to terminate the monopoly on the manufacture and supply of cement and open up to other manufacturers and supplies,” he said.
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