HIS Highness, the Sultan of Johor, will realise his “dream house” for his subjects who cannot afford their own homes and do not stand to inherit one either. This is the housing project he is launching today as part of the celebrations marking his 59th birthday. The first phase, to begin in August, set on a 24ha site, will house some 600 homes with a built-up area of 1,100 sq ft each. The location is prime, just a 20-minute drive from the Johor Baru city centre without traffic congestion. Costing less than RM100,000, these houses will either be bungalows or semi-detached, built without fences to develop a community spirit, expressed by His Highness as silaturrahim (kinship). The houses will be made available to all qualified Bangsa Johor without regard for race or religion. He will not only bear the cost, but also the losses in the event they are incurred. The plan, however, gives him cause for optimism.
Based on the rationale that the “affordable homes” are still unaffordable to many of the most needy, the project, when successful will, according to Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, force house prices down. After all, even the current rapid development that is occurring in Johor and across the Causeway is already seeing a slow but gradual drop in house prices. The quality landed property, but well affordable ones that he plans to build for his subjects, will put further pressure on the housing market. Furthermore, should his plan to build these dream houses nationwide come to pass, this downward pressure on house prices will be effected throughout the country.
Obviously, for Sultan Ibrahim, the obligations of the ruler is not mere rhetoric, for, this housing project is a gift to Johoreans and a dream come true for those yearning for a house to call their own. “I want Bangsa Johor to be a home-owning society.” An emphatic statement to show that he wants only the best for his people. This perhaps explains his irritation when outsiders interfere with his plans for his rakyat.
“The best business you can have today is to mind
your own business,” he had reportedly told off his
critics; understandable under the circumstances.
And, if only his efforts were duplicated by others in
a position to do the same that would be the more
desirable way forward. For, it must be acknowledged
that his noble intentions are not only to give his people a leg up, but also to correct the housing market,
something longed for by all Malaysians. Sultan
Ibrahim’s housing scheme will certainly help boost
the Federal Government’s initiative to build affordable homes under the 1Malaysia People’s Housing Project (PR1MA) project. Under the National Housing Agenda, PR1MA has been tasked with developing 500,000
units of affordable houses nationwide by 2020. Reportedly, it has set a target of 240,000 units for board approval, of which 232,807 units (97 per cent) have been approved.