HDB model for public housing

09 Jul 2018 / 10:51 H.

    PUTRAJAYA: The Housing and Local Government Ministry will look at Singapore's Housing and Development Board's (HDB) public housing system to revamp the fragmented local public housing system.
    Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin told theSun in an exclusive interview that the ministry is studying Singapore's public housing policies and exploring the idea of introducing HDB-type flats in Malaysia.
    "Singapore's current policies will be way ahead of us but I think the SIT (Singapore Improvement Trust) and HDB flats may still be relevant for Malaysia, although it was introduced 50 years ago in Singapore," she prior to her three-day official visit with her counterpart in Singapore starting on Thursday.
    Zuraida, who grew up in Singapore, said the ministry will study how the Singaporean government managed its public housing system, the challenges, and current policies.
    "I've seen some medium-cost houses (in Malaysia) which comes with that kind of design, but because the pricing is high, that's the problem. But the concept is like that (HDB). Why can't they make the low cost houses like this?
    "I believe with the new government, with our streamlining, cost cutting, prudent selection and transparency, I'm sure we can deliver affordable homes … better, nicer, livable affordable homes," she added.
    Zuraida explained that the ministry is not looking at transplanting the Singapore public housing system here, but adopting ideas that are suitable for the Malaysian housing system.
    The SIT was set up in July 1927, under the Singapore Improvement Ordinance. About 23,000 flats were built under the scheme, but more needed to be done to transfer the hundreds and thousands living in squatters and slums to proper housing.
    The SIT was dissolved in 1959, and its successor, the HDB, took over in February 1960.
    The HDB model was built on the principles of having a sole agency in charge of public housing, enabling more effective resource planning and allocation; a total approach covering planning and design, land assembly, and construction ; and support from the government in the form of political and financial commitment, complemented by legislation.
    HDB is now home to more than 80% of Singapore's population, across 23 towns and three estates, according to HDB's website.
    In line with its public housing initiatives, the ministry is also looking at the Industrialised Building System (IBS) to lower the cost associated with providing public and social housing. According to Zuraida, the ministry may consider full implementation of IBS for all projects under the People's Housing Programme (PPR).
    "The way forward is IBS. I'm looking at that. So the new housing policy would encompass it. I have to do a new housing policy; National Housing Policy 2.0. I want to focus on public housing for the B40. That's what the ministry is doing, on PPR. I may need to rename it but the concept is public housing, social housing," she said.
    Zuraida said the scheme should be a "transit" where Malaysians can live for five years and save up before upgrading to better living conditions or move into rent-to-own schemes, which is more achievable.
    To this end, the Ministry has met with Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) and the Public Works Department (JKR). Zuraida said the ministry will also meet with companies that are involved in IBS before deciding on its implementation in the public housing sector.


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