KUALA LUMPUR – Dec 23, 2015: A property consultant who has been known to be critical of Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia (PR1MA) has admitted that it is not a total failure as alleged.
PPC International chief executive officer Siva Shanker, nonetheless stressed that the government must define “affordable price range” on a nationwide scale and parked all involving agencies under one sole group for better coordination and delivery process, say property consultant.
Siva was among several pundits at the PropertyGuru’s Property Market Outlook 2016 forum on Dec 14, who had been reported as giving pejorative commentaries about PR1MA’s affordable housing program.
Others at the forum include REI Group of Companies CEO Dr Daniel Gambero, Property magazine publisher KK Chua, and Andaman Property Management managing director Datuk Dr Vincent Tiew.
PR1MA had responded by issuing an official statement refuting the “grossly inaccurate figures and reckless allegations” made by the forum panelists.
Siva when contacted told The Mole that he actually disagrees with the other panelists’ claim that “PR1MA is a total failure”.
He however suggested for the agency to revise its management strategy should it want to better deliver its housing projects.
He also advised the government to set down a general price range of affordable housing in order to avoid confusion and further bickering between housing developers and PR1MA.
“I believe that every developer classified ‘affordable price range’ differently. Some developers might say that houses priced at RM250,000 as affordable, while some might say houses priced at RM450,000 as affordable.
“I think that we are making a mistake because we are not defining the ‘affordable range’ consistently. Each developer might gives you different range, so, I believe that in order to get this right, one of the things we must do is to define a uniformed range, which is not very big and suitable for lower to middle- income groups,” he added.
Siva said once the price range has been fixed, the housing projects would become more doable, and that the agency can then get relevant developers or players to start building and securing houses in the specified areas.
Additionally, Siva reiterated that the government must establish one sole agency that will work to stabilise the vast number of different agencies involved in the housing program. This is said to ensure structured management and yield better housing delivery results.
Siva restated his disagreement towards the pejorative claim made by other consultants, who had generally said that PR1MA failed to deliver most part of the housing projects.
“Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that what we are doing is wrong. However, I would suggest the government to do only two things; to set down the ‘affordable price range’ and to park all of the different agencies under one sole group,” he added.
Making reference to his earlier claim that “the government should be taking care of the people’s social welfare” instead of “blackmailing and twisting developers’ arms”, Siva explained that the government might be enforcing certain rules that are restraining the developers from gaining profit.
“For instance, certain rules set out that the involving developers must be building several per cent or units of high-end apartment, while remaining units should be the affordable houses for lower to middle-income groups.
“The developers are capitalists, instead of imposing such restriction, they should be allowed to build and sell the products (houses) that they think the market can absorb.
“The government has a lot of lands, which they can delineate with cheaper price and develop by themselves…and the government can afford to do it for little or no profit. Whereas the developers would not be happy to build houses that are of little or no profit to them,” he added.
He also said that if the government really feels that affordable housing is a crucial matter, then it should perhaps take care of the housing projects wisely.
Conversely, prominent journalist blogger Datuk Ahirudin Attan in a blog posting had further requested the authority to rebuke the “allegations” made during the forum.
“Now, can we have someone from the Government of Malaysia respond to Gambero’s allegations, please? That bit about ‘the government is not happy’ is so intriguing. I wonder if this was the first time Mr. Gambero had spoken on behalf of the Malaysian Government,” the blogger wrote.
The Mole had also attempted to contact the other panelists at the forum for further elaboration, but was unsuccessful.