If fact, in keeping with a culture of greater accountability and transparency, State Governments should not only explain to the Acting Prime Minister but also to the people at large, as this is openly flouting the Federal Government’s declared policy to adhere firmly to a 30 per cent quota for low-cost housing for all housing projects to provide affordable housing to the low-income groups.
All State Government should be given two weeks to publicly announce the number and details of housing projects which had been exempted from building low-cost houses in their state, the reasons for the exemption and what steps they propose to take to make up for the shortfall in low-cost housing as a result of such exemptions.
If State Governments are required to comply with higher standards of public accountability and transparency, then the opportunities for abuses of power and even corruption in government decision-making affecting the people would be lessened.
At present, the record of the various state governments in low-cost housing is quite dismal. Even the Ministry of Housing and Local Government is unable to get the various State Governments to submit regular reports on the progress of low-cost housing projects.
The Housing Minister, Datuk Dr. Ting Chew Peh revealed recently that so far, only Johore had been submitting the monthly reports requested by his Ministry on the progress of low-cost housing projects to enable the Federal Government to monitor low-cost housing developments nation-wide.
The Housing Ministry must find an urgent solution to the refusal of the state governments to submit monthly reports to his Ministry, as without such reports, it is impossible for the Ministry to perform its basic function to ensure the fulfilment of the Seventh Malaysia Plan low-cost housing targets to provide housing for the poor.