Friday September 14, 2012
Getting round the banks
By ZORA CHAN
KUCHING: Housing Development Corporation (HDC) will have its own mortgage and financial arm by January next year to assist the low and medium income groups in securing housing loans.
Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the institution would also help address bad paymasters currently faced by HDC.
He said HDC just received the Finance Ministry’s approval on Wednesday and if all went well, the institution would be operational on Jan 1 or the first quarter of next year at the latest.
“It will be called Mutiara Mortgage Finance Sdn Bhd and owned by HDC but it will operate distinctly from HDC. So we’ll be working on the details and capital needed to start, which is between RM5mil and RM10mil,” he told reporters after attending HDC’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri gathering here yesterday.
Johari said the new institution would function like Borneo Mortgage which was designed for civil servants only.
He said they had not determined the loan interest to be imposed but presently HDC’s housing loan imposed about 6%.
“Many applicants fail to get loans from banks as they have to go through bank officials in the peninsula and who do not understand Sarawak’s needs, particularly those working in the private sector or self-employed,” he said.
He also hoped that house buyers who borrowed from Mutiara would pay their monthly instalments on time otherwise they would get evicted from their homes.
HDC had helped provided loans through one of its sections but many house owners were bad paymasters and did not take their loans seriously, he said.
“HDC has to bear an arrears amounting to RM40mil in unpaid loans,” he said, adding that in some cases, house buyers had to be evicted through legal procedures.
He said HDC could not afford to continue chasing after bad paymasters and, therefore, setting up an independent institution was the best solution.
On delayed housing projects, Johari said there were three — in Batu Gong and Surabaya near here, and Limbang.
“The project in Limbang was supposed to be completed two years ago but until today it has not taken off,” he said.
To date, three contractors had been terminated for failing to follow building specifications and plans.
Earlier in his speech, Johari said contractors had to be more responsible while HDC staff must always be on the ground to monitor each project to prevent delays.
“Any delay will be troublesome for house buyers and the people will lose confidence in us,” he said.
Delays also mean additional cost to HDC and this would be a financial burden to it.
During the Hari Raya Aidilfitri gathering, HDC also launched its teams of paddlers who will be taking part in the Sarawak Regatta this weekend.
A total of 180 paddlers from different villages would be representing HDC in different categories including the VIP.