Youth Parliament discusses housing woes on first day of meet

Potential house buyers looking at properties on sale at a property summit. ― Picture by KE Ooi
Potential house buyers looking at properties on sale at a property summit. ― Picture by KE Ooi

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 ― Lack of affordable housing for youths took centre stage in this year's first session of the Youth Parliament starting today.

Representatives of the Youth Parliament departed from the muted discussions from last year's debut, this time engaging in heated discussions that occasionally veered towards being critical of government policies.

Ahmad Fadzil Ahmad Shuhaili from Perak said that that politicians are not brave in making certain bold moves as it would dim their popularity among voters, such as revising the real property gains tax (RPGT).

Alif Rosli, a Terengganu representative, urged government-linked companies (GLCs) to consider abolishing land premium payments when selling their land to property developers, to enable the construction of affordable homes.

“This premium can be converted to make affordable homes. Land premiums are the reason for the increase in housing prices. So, if this is abolished then prices of homes will be low. It's a very simple Math to understand,” he said.

He also urged the public not to buy beyond their means.

Perlis representative Mohd Asihamuddin Yaakob centred his arguments on the need for affordable housing among for rural youths, suggesting Putrajaya supply homes costing RM30,000 with a 20-year loan repayment period.

But Kedah representative Dr Mohd Rizal Abd Rahman criticised the dependence on the government to resolve such issues.

“Our leaders should teach the reality of things to our people. We cannot ask the government to prepare all affordable facilities, we have to put effort ourselves and view things from a different angle. In London, the youths don't work for just a year or two and then buy homes.

Failure to alter the mindset of youths meant that such complaints will never be resolved as the next generation will raise similar grouses, he said.

Kuala Lumpur representative Mohd Fitri Chee Ree was also critical in his argument, and blamed the government's housing policies for high home prices.

“There is plenty of government-owned land on which affordable housing failed to be developed. 17 locations in Kuala Lumpur has been sold to private developers… the interest of the private developers is given more concern than the needs of the rakyat.

He said that housing woes will remain even if Putrajaya spends RM40 billion on affordable homes if this issue is not addressed.

A property survey last year found that three out of four Malaysians are unhappy with the current property market, citing expensive properties and lack of government action among the main reasons for dissatisfaction.

Unlike Parliament, the youth version is not divided into the government and the opposition, but several committees table motions on particular issues to be debated.

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