Dr Michael Teo Yu Keng
MIRI: Miri MP Dr Micheal Teo Yu Keng urged the State Government to allocate a better piece of land for low-cost housing scheme in Miri , proposing Lusut area as alternative to Kuala Baram site which is cost-prohibitive.
He suggested the State Government through Assistant Minister of Housing and Public Health Dr Annuar Rapaee should help secure the suitable site to facilitate the roll out of the affordable housing programme in Miri.
Teo said this in response to the statement in DUN by Dr Annuar that the Ministry of Local Government and Housing Sarawak will continue to request for additional funding from the federal government for the construction of 278 units of affordable housing in Permyjaya Tiga, Kuala Baram in Miri which has been postponed for nearly five years.
The assistant minister said this in reply to reply to a question from Piasau assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting on the third day of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting on the third day of the Budget session.
Dr Annuar said so far there is no plan by the federal government to implement the project that was approved by the State Planning Unit on Nov 10, 2016, and he urged Ting to work with Miri MP Dr Michael Teo to bring more projects from the federal government to Miri.
According to the assistant minister, Dr Teo in August has expressed his desire to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to build 8,000 affordable houses in Miri.
He told The Borneo Post that the 8,000 houses for Sarawak was given by Minister of Housing and Local Government Zuraida Kamaruddin in her visit to Samarahan earlier this year.
“This would be in phases, not in one year, and we hope half of it would be in Miri, “ he said.
The two-term MP said the State Government has also announced the plan to build 2,000 houses in Kuching and Sibu but not Miri.
“I hope the State Government will allocate a suitable piece of land as the land in Kuala Baram that was sold to the federal government by the state government for RM 50 million is swampy and unsuitable as it needs a lot of earth-filling activities to raise it up to five feet, and this would take two to three years to settle down,” he said.
“We have identified some good lands in Lusut, and I appeal to the State Government to give up the land by releasing the land from individuals or companies, maybe five percent of the land, for the sake of the poor,” he said.
Teo said cooperation between the state and federal government is the key to successful provision of affordable houses in Miri but the cooperation for provision of land has not been forthcoming so far.
“I hope Dr Annuar will help us identify or push for the release of the land as requested. Otherwise, without land, there would be no low cost housing despite the good intention of the federal government,” he said.
He said Sarawak currently has about 8,000 squatters of which half were in Miri, underscoring the need for urgent affordable housing programme to be rolled out here.
Last August at the launching ceremony of the flying of the national flag during the Merdeka Month in Miri , Teo said at least 8,000 low-income families here would be able to buy a house through a low-cost housing scheme to be developed by the federal government.
He said about 4,000 squatter families and another 4,000 families who did not own a house but were not squatters, had been identified for the scheme. He said they would be eligible for low-cost housing at a lower price, which previously cost more than RM50,000 a unit.