Malaysia Needs To Incentivise Material Imports To Boost Affordable Housing

Last update: 07/02/2018By Azlee Nor Mahmud and Yasmin Ahmad Zukiman

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 (Bernama) -- Malaysia needs to further incentivise material imports in order to enhance its affordable housing ecosystem even though it is ahead of other countries in terms of its development, Australia's Compass Housing Services said.

Group Managing Director Greg Budworth said the financial cost of affordable housing could also be reduced by introducing more bond regimes.

"Malaysia is one of the best countries in terms of national plans, and Australia can actually learn a thing or two from it," he told Bernama on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) Habitat Business Assembly, here today.

Compass Housing Services is one of Australia's largest non-government social housing providers.

At the event, Budworth, who is also Vice-President of the UN-Habitat General Assembly of Partners, also delivered a talk on sustainable development goals.

The Assembly is a featured programme under the World Urban Forum (WUF), where leading members of the private sector, business and city networks, development banks, investors, foundations, national and local governments, United Nations agencies and other industry stakeholders convene to work towards delivering sustainable urban development.

Budworth opined that the conversation on affordable housing should shift from the cost point of view to a government investment approach.

"There are also technologically efficient ways to use resources. However, I think if the government invest in the construction of affordable housing, it will economically multiply," he said.

In Australia, he said the return would be 2.9 times of the investment in construction, which contributed to the country's gross domestic product.

Budworth said there were also social benefits on top of the economic benefits, such as higher employment rate, lower crime rate, better education and a better lifestyle for all.

"A stable city is good for the economy and the people," he said.

This year's UN-Habitat Business Assembly focused on the New Urban Agenda's call-for-action for businesses to apply their creativity and innovation towards solving sustainable development challenges in urban areas - acknowledging that private business activities, investment, and innovation are major drivers of productivity, inclusive growth and job creation.