Lembah Pantai MP moots overhaul of public housing scheme, says not meeting urban poor needs

Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil speaks during the Yayasan MRCB books and free school meal programme at SMK La Salle in Kuala Lumpur June 27, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil speaks during the Yayasan MRCB books and free school meal programme at SMK La Salle in Kuala Lumpur June 27, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil suggested today the Peoples’ Housing Programme (PPR) to be re-evaluated as many low-income buyers including his constituents could not afford the scheme’s RM150,000 minimum price.

Speaking to reporters after launching MRCB Foundation’s School Meal Sponsorship Programme for B40 children, the PKR lawmaker said there is an urgent need and strong demand for PPR housing not only for his constituents but in Kuala Lumpur generally.

“Even the idea of affordable housing currently is out of reach of many of the B40 segment

“So, I have spoken with the Federal Territories minister, people from City Hall (DBKL), I am interested to engage with Malaysian Architectural Society, as well Build Environment Faculty in Universiti Malaya to look at a new concept for PPR.

“I am calling it PPR 2.0 but I think it is necessary because many people find it difficult (to purchase a home). They can’t afford (homes that costs) RM300,000 or even RM150,000 may be out of reach for the poorer segments and many of whom are Malays.

“So, for me, I want to try and see whether we can find a next step solution and it’s possible if we are able to manage some of the factors including land and density,” said Fahmi adding that these new PPR should be included in the Kuala Lumpur Masterplans up till 2040.

He urged the academia to spearhead discussions for a solution to the problem facing Kuala Lumpur’s urban poor.

In order to improve the outcomes for the B40 group, Fahmi said providing the physical infrastructure is not enough if their social architecture is not improved alongside.

Originally, the low-cost housing projects were designed with social mobility in mind, with residents meant to stay for two to three years, after which they are meant to afford better homes, he explained.

As time went by, however, he said he noticed that many of those born in the PPR environment appeared stuck there for life and unable to break out of the poverty trap.

“But what we have seen is that over the years if you were born in a PPR, most likely you will grow up there, get married there, raised a family there and in all likelihood pass away there.

“So I believe something can be done about this. But in order to do it has to be a multisectoral effort.

“We have to engage the academia, we have to look at city planners, town planners, architects, policy makers and I think we need to have a national conversation about the idea of PPR itself,” said the former thespian.

At the MRCB Foundation’s School Meal Sponsorship Programme earlier, Fahmi also handed out calculators and books to students from six schools in Kuala Lumpur before joining the students at SMK La Salle, Brickfields for a quick lunch.

The School Meal Sponsorship Programme will benefit 384 students in 12 schools in Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Kedah, Penang and Johor.

Foundation chairman Datin Jasmine Abdullah Heng said the programme has a total cost of RM231,000 annually.

“We provide for them RM3 meal per day for each student for a year. 384 students from 12 schools in some parts of Peninsula Malaysia will benefit from this. We work with canteen operators with all these schools to make sure the children have a balanced diet.

“We have also asked the principal of each school to monitor the food, randomly take photos of the meals and send it to us to make sure the canteen operators are doing their work properly. We will also send our own people for random spot checks every once in a while,” said Heng.

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