Bigger low-cost homes
KUALA LUMPUR: Low and medium-income earners can soon look forward to owning affordable and larger homes.
Under the Bandar Gemilang Sime Darby programme, vast tracts of plantation land in Labu in Negri Sembilan, Gurun in Kedah and Vision City in Selangor will be turned into townships with apartments, link and semi-detached houses.
The low-rise apartments under the programme, which was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi here last night, will measure about 900 sq ft compared to the standard size of a low-cost link house, which is about 600 sq ft.
Some of the residential units will be flexible and can be extended or expanded according to the needs of the houseowners, especially those with large families.
For example, a two-storey cluster home, which is about 1,300 sq ft, can be extended to 1,600 sq ft when the family grows bigger.
Abdullah, who was the guest-of-honour at the event, was delighted and pleased with the development project.
"I believe it holds great promise in providing affordable homes for the people and, at the same time, raising the quality of life as well as enhancing their economic prospects," he said.
He said the measure of a nation's progress and development was signified not just by the level of its economic growth but also by the quality of life enjoyed by its people.
"My Government has made raising the standard and sustainability of the people's quality of life a key developmental priority."
"For many people, comfortable and conducive housing is a key determinant of the quality of life that they enjoy," he added.
Abdullah said the Government had been actively driving the effort together with the private sector to ensure that the lower income group was never forgotten or marginalised.
"Indeed the government has built and continue to build thousands upon thousands of affordable homes nationwide to fulfil that vision."
Abdullah said Sime Darby was working hard towards fulfilling its corporate social responsibility and urged the rest of the corporate world to follow suit.
Sime Darby Berhad chairman Tun Musa Hitam said the number of units to be built at each of the three sites would depend on the demand from potential houseowners.
He said the company aimed to create sustainable communities and was confident that the programme would be well-received by the rakyat.
Other facilities available under programme include libraries, schools, sports fields, police stations and places of worship for major religions.
In each of the townships, 30% of the land area will be dedicated to open space, parks and landscaped gardens.