KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Housing and Local Government plans to look at the viability of building affordable houses on waqf land in the country to cater for the housing requirements of the bottom 40% (B40) of the households in Malaysia.
Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin (pix), said the ministry would make it mandatory for state governments to offer waqf land for the same purpose.
She said many of those in the B40 group have between five and six children and live in houses measuring 650 sq feet only.
“They should actually be given comfortable and liveable roofs (house) over their heads.
“We will make it mandatory that affordable houses must be 900 sq feet in size and the housing project should have a surau and recreation facilities,“ she told a press conference after officiating the annual general meeting of the Malaysian Islamic Chamber of Commerce, here today.
Zuraida, who is also the MP representing Ampang, said as an example if the housing project was handled by the state, the construction cost would be much lower and the retail price of the houses built would be within the reach of the B40 group.
“Compliance cost will also be lowered including for water and electricity,“ she added.
On another note, the minister suggested that the chamber explore Islamic tourism business opportunities as it was becoming popular nowadays.
“There are Muslims wordwide, and this is a great opportunity that the chamber should tap.
“In Malaysia we have a population of 30 million and the Malays make up 56% of them. The numbers are even bigger out there,“ she added.
“If Muslims go to China, they will be tempted to try out Chinese dishes and if they go to Italy, they would want to savour Italian food but it has to be halal and this is a big market to tap,“ Zuraida pointed out.
She added that the chamber has members who are already into Islamic tourism but it must be expanded further. — Bernama