Monday, May 12, 2008


Bernama - Saturday, May 10

KUCHING, May 10 (Bernama) -- Sarawak will propose several measures to the federal government to mitigate the rising price of construction materials in order to ease the burden on local contractors involved in the housing industry, State Housing Minister Datuk Seri Abang Johari Tun Openg said today.

Speaking to reporters after launching the RM208 million "Vista Wawasan" housing project undertaken by Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB) here, Abang Johari said based on the discussions with housing developers and local construction material suppliers recently, there were ways to overcome the problems but he declined to the reveal the details as yet.

"We will look into the problems one by one," he said, adding that the proposed measures will take into account the plight of those from the construction industry as well as low-income earners wishing to own low-cost houses.

Lauding the federal government's move to scrap the ceiling price on steel bars and billets, Abang Johari said developers and suppliers could now buy at the best available price from steel manufacturers locally and abroad.

He said at the same time the move would ease the pressure of maintaining the current price of low-cost houses in Sarawak at RM42,000 per unit despite repeated requests from local developers to review the price. Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that the government had decided to scrap the ceiling price on steel bars and billets from May 12 to assist local contractors in getting sufficient supplies and ensure smooth implementation of development projects. The federal goverment has a price cap of RM2,278 per tonne for steel bars and RM1,918 for steel billet. On the "Vista Wawasan" project, Abang Johari said response to the low-cost housing units had received an overwhelming response with 80 percent taken up, indicating that such housing schemes were still in strong demand in Sarawak. SPNB managing director Datuk Mohammad Amin Mohd Salleh said in a statement that a total of 1,975 housing units of various types will be built under the project at prices ranging from RM42,000 to RM155,500 per unit. A total of 63.2 hectares (158 acres) at the Salak Land District had been set aside for the project, he said. Mohammad Amin said SPNB was targeting to build 12,241 housing units of various types in Kuching, Kota Samarahan, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu in Sarawak "Presently, SPNB is constructing 1,152 apartments in Kota Samarahan under its 'Vista Ilmu' project and another project in the pipeline will involve 2,643 housing and commercial units in Desa Bahagia, Miri," he said. -- BERNAMA

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