SPNB Offers Many Choices For Buyers

By Melati Mohd Ariff

KUALA LUMPUR, March (Bernama) -- For those who own land but could not afford to build a house on it, Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad (SPNB) is ready to help them build the people friendly home.

Now buyers of SPNB's people friendly homes have 42 designs to choose from.

A three bedroom and two bathroom terrace house with a built up area of

1,000 square feet (about 305 square metres) costs RM65,000, with the government subsidising RM20,000 and the balance of RM45,000 borne by the buyer.

"These houses are sold to the land owner at cost price. As we are not motivated by profits, the houses are cheap.

"The actual market price maybe more than RM100,000," explained SPNB's Managing Director Datuk Dr Kamarul Rashdan Salleh during an interview with Bernama at Wisma Perkeso, Jalan Tun Razak here.

THE SUBSIDY REALITY

Those who apply for the people friendly homes must meet two important requirements, they must own a land under their name and their monthly earnings below RM3,000.

"We have to look into the income criteria because the people friendly homes involve the subsidy element and therefore it is only for those who strictly qualify," explained Kamarul adding that the majority of the applicants are those from the outskirts.

As this programme was introduced in 2001, the profile of the applicants were no longer the same.

Initially it was targeted towards the poor segments of the society but now youths who form bulk of the applicants.

"We have maintained the same approach, giving priority to low and medium income earners who own a land but could not afford to build a house.

ABANDONED HOUSING

Another of SPNB's role until 2012 as a social entrepreneur is reviving abandoned housing projects.

However, in 2012 the government decided that private sector should undertake the role.

So far, SPNB is in the process of reviving the last of the two projects handed over to it. They are Taman Tangkak Mas and Taman Jasa Amir, both in Tangkak and Batu Pahat, Johor respectively.

According to Kamarul, though reviving the abandoned projects involve cost yet SPNB maintains the price bought by the victimised buyers.

"Nevertheless, as SPNB is no longer involved in reviving the abandoned housing projects, its is now up to the private sector to serve as the 'white knight' now," explained Kamarul.

FINANCIAL RESOURCES

SPNB receives financial allocation from the government to implement its housing programmes.

However, starting from 2013 Budget, the government only provides subsidies or grants.

"SPNB secures loans from financial institutions to finance its affordable housing developments," said Kamarul.

OTHER PROJECTS

Apart from its core activity, SPNB also implements the Amal Jariah scheme to fulfill its corporate social responsibility

SPNB fully finances homes built through this scheme for the unfortunate and the poor with RM60,000 allocated annually for the scheme.

So far, SPNB has spent RM971,000 for this scheme from the total allocation of RM1.3 million.

"Normally, each year we build two houses under this scheme and so far we have managed to deliver 153 houses with 96 of them being houses that were rebuilt," said Kamarul.

Apart from this, he said, that SPNB is planning an alternative for the people friendly homes for those earning RM3,000 and less.

COMMITTED

Kamarul again stressed that although SPNB offers cheaper homes, the satisfaction and comfort of the buyers were not neglected.

SPNB also takes into account the buyer's preference to renovate before moving in or later.

Therefore, SPNB is careful in it's approach in determining the specification so that there is no wastage because the specification may not be to the buyer's taste and at the end the buyer spends more to make changes to suit his/her taste.

SPNB also endeavours to offer homes that come with kitchen cabinets, security alarm and even wi-fi for the comfort of the dwellers.

REBUILDING

SPNB is also studying the viability of redeveloping the old homes that are in a derelict state and not suited for occupation especially in areas like Kerinchi and Cheras.

Many of the flats there were built in the 1970s and are in poor condition.

Kamarul said he found that the flat dwellers do not like to live there but have no choice because the prices of homes in the Klang Valley were far beyond their affordability.

"It is highly pertinent for these flats to be redeveloped. SPNB has all the experience needed in redeveloping them based on its foray into reviving abandoned housing projects and helping the poor own houses," he said.

However, he admitted that redeveloping these dwellings called for the earnestness of all parties and hoped that the government would look into it favourably.

"For the time being we are looking at the best options. Only that there is no decision yet as it may involve a big budget.

"Once the project is implemented, dwellers will have the opportunity to stay in comfortable and functional homes," said Kamarul.

-- BERNAMA