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A roof over the head

  • Many middle-income families are unable to shed their "homeless" destiny as they are excluded from such program designed to help low-income families.

Sin Chew Daily

A roof over everyone's head is not just a government aspiration but the dream of countless of "homeless" Malaysians, too. To a lot of people, this dream is becoming increasingly remote.

According to the 2016 household income and expenditure report, housing affordability remains a major issue in this country, and many medium-income families earning RM5,228 have problem affording a modest house.

Simply put, house prices in major cities and towns in the country have exceeded the affordable levels of average Malaysian families, with Sabah, Kuala Lumpur and Penang being the least affordable.

Malaysians are enjoying significantly higher incomes over the past few decades. The statistics department's report shows that average Malaysian household income increased to RM6,958 last year. However, as Malaysians' standard of living is improving, house prices have also increased, especially during the last ten years when they have gone up almost uncontrollably, way faster than income increases.

Notably, besides skyrocketing house prices, goods prices have also gone up at the same time, and this has posed a severe economic challenge for the low and middle-income groups, making it even harder for them to afford their own houses.

Although our house prices are relatively low compared to other regional countries, we are only a developing country with moderate income levels, and the current house prices are simply too high for those in the low to middle-income brackets.

Due to the exorbitant cost of land in urban areas, many are forced to move to smaller houses far away from major urban centers. This has left a major mark on their quality of life.

The government has noted this problem and has tried to address it by introducing affordable housing program.

We cannot deny that the program has indeed helped some low-income families purchase their dream houses. Nevertheless, many middle-income families are still unable to shed their "homeless" destiny as they are excluded from such program. Even if they eventually manage to afford their own houses, their quality of life will be significantly weighed down by the excessive monthly mortgages.

It is therefore imperative that the government adopt effective measures to rein in speculative buying and control property prices so that most Malaysians can have a roof over their heads.

Having a roof over one's head has become a basic need for modern people, and the government must strive to meet the people's need to have a roof over their heads instead of just shouting a few impressive slogans.

 

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