Projects To Adopt GBI Standard
KUCHING: All new housing projects in the State will soon be based on the
green building index (GBI) standard so that houses will be more
Speaking to reporters after delivering his winding up speech at the State
Legislative Assembly (DUN) yesterday, Housing Minister, Datuk Amar Abang
Haji Johari Tun Openg, said that the new concept of housing design would
be more environmentally friendly and houses would be built in such a way
that they would receive more sunlight so that less electricity would be
used for lighting.
He said the new building architecture would probably emphasise bigger
windows to allow more light in and better air circulation.
“This is something totally new and I believe that we will be the first
state to implement this concept. So far only Singapore and Australia are
doing it and we want to introduce it here to create environmentally
friendly housing,” he said.
Johari told the media that he had spoken to the Architect Association of
Malaysia (AAM) to encourage its members to apply the concept when
designing future houses.
“There’s no point of having sophisticated designs that are not
environmentally friendly. Probably the designs for houses with GBI
standard could be even cheaper and the money saved could be used for the
design of the floor area,” he suggested.
On abandoned housing projects, he said there were only eight in the State
so far, and two quite big ones would be taken over by Syarikat Perumahan
Nasional Berhad (SPNB) while the other six would be looked into by Sarawak
Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (SHEDA).
Meanwhile, when delivering his winding up speech earlier, Johari said the
housing industry in Sarawak was rather healthy as there were still good
demands for houses, except for houses priced above RM300,000.
He said that the demand for houses below RM300,000 was still encouraging
and this could be due to the fact that the state was not building any
flats for sale.
“Here in Sarawak, we prefer to sell landed properties rather than flats.
The Federal government seems to have agreed with the State’s policy on
this matter (not building flats for sale),” he disclosed.
He said the State was not keen to build flats as it could cause a lot of
“We have carried out a study with the help of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
(UNIMAS) and found that people staying in flats do not have conducive
living environment,” he disclosed.
“Since the State has plenty of land, it is better for us to build
individual houses. Places like Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya or Penang need
flats but not Sarawak,” said Johari.
He said what the State needed now was to improve its public transport
system because most of the housing estates would be in the sub-urban
“With good public transport system, there will be no difficulty for the
residents to travel to the town,” he added.
Johari told the august House that SPNB, a subsidiary company of the
Finance Ministry, would be building 1,000 units of Rumah Mesra Rakyat (RMR)
or People-Friendly Houses in Sarawak during the 2009-2010 period.
He said, however, the price of RMR units had been increased from RM55,000
to between RM68,000 and RM74,000 per unit, depending on the locality.
“The price of RMR units built on stilts has been increased from RM65,000
to between RM88,000 and RM100,000 per unit, depending on the locality.
“The increase in the price was due to the increase in the cost of building
materials,” he said, adding that RMR housing scheme was meant for families
earning less than RM1,500 a month.
On private sector housing, Johari said that the prices in Kuching had
recorded new levels with a double-storey detached house selling beyond the
ceiling price of RM400,000 per unit, double-storey terrace unit beyond
RM300,000 and single-storey terrace house, RM180,000 a unit,
“The prices of houses have gone up between 25 and 30 percent compared to
five years ago, probably indicating a potential bubble in the housing
market, which essentially is a ‘buyers’ market’ and the developers are
conscious that any more increase in the prices will drive sales down,” he
As such 63% of houses built in Kuching, Sibu and Miri were priced below
RM300,000 per unit, he added.
“In fact, buyers were more cautious in 2008 as a result of the economic
downturn with some 40% of houses remained unsold compared to 32% remained
the previous year,” revealed the Housing Minister.
Johari pointed out that it was fortunate for the State to have maintained
the “sell and build” policy rather than adopting the “build and sell”
policy as the former policy had worked pretty well for the housing sector
in Sarawak with not many housing project being abandoned compared to