Reintroduce developer interest bearing scheme for affordable homes, Putrajaya told

By Opalyn Mok
Lim said the smart card will make it easier for the state government to streamline management and disbursement of financial aid for its welfare programmes. ― Picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, March 10 ― Putrajaya should reintroduce the developer interest bearing scheme (DIBS) for houses below RM300,000, said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The Penang lawmaker claimed that a lot of low-cost and low medium cost housing were not sold because buyers could not get loans for it.

“I believe that the loan rejection rate is between 60 to 70 per cent so even the RM42,000 low cost housing are not being taken up due to buyers unable to obtain loans,” he said in his opening address at the Penang International Property (PIP) Conference here.

He said Bank Negara should consider relaxing stringent guidelines for loans for first time house buyers of housing below RM300,000.

“Either that or introduce BIDS for houses below RM300,000 to alleviate the burden on the house buyers and enable them to buy these low cost units,” he said.

DIBS was one of the schemes used by most house buyers to purchase houses until it was abolished under the Budget 2014 as a cooling measure for the property market and also to prevent property flipping by investors.

Lim said the main issue now is due to Bank Negara's stringent requirements.

He also proposed that Bank Negara release special guidelines for first time house buyers of houses below RM300,000.

He said this issue is a main problem because the inability by house buyers to obtain loans meant these low cost units will be unsold and remain vacant.

Later, state housing development committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo confirmed that the number of unsold low cost units in the state is “substantial”.

“I don't have the exact figures but the figure is substantial. I know there is one low cost project in Seberang Perai Selatan, more than 50 per cent of the units is unsold,” he told reporters outside the conference.

Jagdeep said Lim was only using the low take up of low cost units as an example of high loan rejection rates.

“If there are no high loan rejection rates, people would be occupying these units,” he said.