by Peter Boon, firstname.lastname@example.org.
SIBU: Sarawak has the lion’s share of the budget for public housing under the National Budget 2013 and has a smart partnership with the federal government.
Assistant Housing Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah stated this yesterday when refuting state DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen’s allegation that the government did not have the budget for public housing.
“The bulk of our housing budget comes from the federal. Sarawak got the biggest sum for public housing under the 2013 National Budget.
“The state contributes in some way by providing land for some of this housing and this is smart partnership between the federal and state governments.
“Henceforth, to infer that the government does not have budget for public housing is irresponsible and reflects an ignorance of how the government works,” he told The Borneo Post.
Chong also blamed the rising cost of houses on the state government’s policy.
To this, Abdul Karim, who is also Assistant Minister of Youth Development and Asajaya assemblyman, said the biggest player in the housing industry is the private sector.
Among them, he said, were Rumah Mampu Milik, Rumah Mesra Rakyat, Rumah Prima1Msia and so on, which were subsidised by the government.
“In Sarawak, we also have a policy whereby private developers that develop big acreage of land must also do their part to develop low cost houses too within their development area … lest their planning application will not be approved.
“Hence, to say that the spiralling cost of houses is due to the government is an overstatement. It is wrong to say the government is not doing anything to control house prices when private houses are determined by the market forces of supply and demand.
“And despite the thousands of houses constructed, they keep being snapped up by the public,” he noted.
Abdul Karim said this showed the economy was booming.
“These are the fruits that the BN government brings! So to Chong…it’s better for him to understand the economy deeper and don’t start ‘shooting’ and ‘barking’ without checking his facts or just for the sake of wanting cheap publicity and popularity,” he added.