KUALA LUMPUR: Owning a bungalow or semi-detached house for below RM100,000 (US$22,600) is just a dream for most people, but Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar is about to make it reality.
The project called Rumah Impian Bangsar Johor (Johoreans' Dream House) had its soft launch on Wednesday (Mar 22), marking the start of construction for 1,840 units, including bungalows and semi-detached houses.
These will be built in phases at three locations in Johor, the sultan said in a recent interview with the Media Prima Group.
The Rumah Impian properties will be built in phases at three locations in Johor, said the sultan. (Photo: Johor Southern Tigers' Facebook page)
To qualify for a 1,100 square feet unit with three rooms, buyers must be from the lower-income bracket and must not own a house already.
Sultan Ibrahim said he wanted to address the plight of those unable to own homes. Houses today are so overpriced, he said, such that some people can only afford to look at them.
He described his affordable housing project as a special gift to Johoreans in conjunction with his 59th birthday. The sultan has reportedly said he was willing to bear losses, if any, for the sake of the people.
"I will make sure these houses are of good quality. The roofing trusses will not be made of wood. Instead, we will use galvanised steel. The doors will not be made of cheap plywood - it must be made of more durable material," Sultan Ibrahim was quoted by the New Straits Times as saying.
"I do not want to build low-quality homes because that would be embarrassing. I want the people to be satisfied with the quality of the homes."
A mock-up of one of the houses being built under the Rumah Impian project. (Photo: Johor Southern Tigers' Facebook page)
The freehold development will be under the control of the Sultan Ibrahim Foundation in collaboration with Bank Rakyat, he added. It would comprise residential properties, shophouses and other commercial units. Profit from the sale of the shoplots will help subsidise the cost of the houses.
Sultan Ibrahim expects the project to shake up the housing industry and to force private developers to bring down house prices. He added that he is willing to expand the project if the government wants to emulate the concept.
"If this Dream House project becomes a reality across the country and if I get the federal (government's) support to build houses for the people nationwide, I will do it without taking a single sen as profit. Let the people have homes," the sultan was quoted as saying.