Single entity for affordable housing comprising six agencies by year-end
The establishment of a single entity to oversee the provision of affordable homes will be completed by year-end, said National Housing Department director-general Jayaselan Navaratnam. Six agencies namely 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme (PR1MA), UDA Holdings Bhd, Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd, Federal Territories Affordable Housing (Rumawip), Housing Project for the Hardcore Poor (PPRT) and the 1Malaysia Housing Project for Civil Servants (PPA1M) will be streamlined under the entity as a start. “We are also working with Bank Negara Malaysia, National Property Information Centre, Real Estate Housing Developers Association (Rehda) and other groups specialised in the real estate industry,” he said. Meanwhile, the ministry is coming up with a price threshold for affordable homes based on different regions. Factors to be considered include household income, debt level and affordability level when coming up with the price threshold. (The Sun Daily)

KPKT to draft commercial development act
The Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) is planning to draft a commercial development act as it realises the need to standardise the particular segment. “We want to have a vibrant city and provide a better live for people through building mixed developments, where people can live in the residential component on top and work at the commercial component at the bottom,” said its director-general Jayaselan Navaratnam. There is also a lack of standardised sales and purchase agreement for commercial property, and commercial property owners have to go to normal court instead of tribunal when they have claims to make. Jayaselan noted that it will take at least two years for the ministry to come up with the act, which requires a lot research and studies. The ministry is also working on a Waqf development act to build more residential developments. (The Edge Markets)

Malaysia to have women-friendly sports complex in three years
Malaysia is to have its first women-friendly sports complex that will have amenities such as a children’s nursery, spa and beauty salon, said Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin. The complex was expected to be ready in three years, and it would also have a swimming pool only for women and an indoor court, as well as amenities for disabled people and children accompanying the women. “We think there is a need to provide such a facility because women require a recreation area where they can be free and are not confined by various constraints,” she said during a visit to a 6.07-ha site in Puchong, one of the four sites proposed for the complex. The complex would be equipped to organise international women’s sports meets and cater to the needs of women tourists who want to engage in recreational activities. (The Sun Daily)

‘Rentals can be a viable alternative to homeownership’
Malaysia has to strengthen the legal framework of the local rental market to nurture renting as a viable alternative to homeownership, said Messrs Amir Toh Francis & Partners advocate and solicitor Ivan Chan. An enhanced private rental segment can help to narrow the supply-demand gap for affordable housing. One of the strategies is to improve the rental market by strengthening the legal framework, which can be done by identifying and adopting policies and initiatives that are being undertaken in other countries like Scotland. He noted that a tenancy agreement is not adequate as the terms and conditions of the agreement are not standardised under a law. Instead, they are drafted by the landlord and the tenant, which could result in an inequality of bargaining power for certain parties. (The Edge Markets)

Malaysia has highest diabetes rate in Asia
Malaysia has the highest rate of diabetes in Asia and one of the highest in the world, probably next to Saudi Arabia, says National Diabetes Institute (Nadi) executive chairman Datuk Dr Mustaffa Embong. There are about 2.5 million adults with diabetes in Malaysia, comprising those aged 18 and above. Almost half of Malaysians do not know that they have diabetes, until they develop a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, become blind and have to have a body part amputated, he said. That is why diabetes is considered a silent killer. (The Star Online)