PETALING JAYA:As a leading businessman, Tan Sri Vincent Tan has always held charity close to his heart. And now, he has upped the ante by offering condominium units for the lower-income group at below-market prices.
Tan said turning a profit is secondary to providing low-income families with the opportunity to buy a house that is large enough, comfortable and with suitable amenities.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Berjaya Flagship Affordable Homes (BFAH) in Subang Jaya on Friday, the Berjaya Corporation Berhad founder and adviser said he directed that the additional RM10 million it costs to provide the 900sq ft (84sq m), five-bedroom, four-bathroom condominium units located at Subang Heights be absorbed.
The project, a Rumah Selangorku affordable housing initiative, is developed by Berjaya Land Berhad in collaboration with Yayasan My First Home.
“A home is more than a shelter as it is where a person raises his family. It is an important asset. But today, many families cannot afford to purchase a home.
“Berjaya Land pointed out that the project would be loss-making, but I insisted it proceed as I aim to help the B40 group to own a home.
“Everything cannot be about money alone. We have to do our part for the lower-income group too and not depend entirely on the government to help them. Those from the B40 group have dreams of owning a house just like the rest of us, and we should do our part to fulfil their dream,” he said.
Tan added that at a price of RM250,000, families can meet their monthly commitments and also pay their housing instalments.
Those who buy the 402 units of condominiums on offer have the option to purchase a dual-key unit. One room will have a different entrance so as not to disturb the main unit.
“The room can be rented out to defray the instalment cost, be given to a married member of the family or aged parents who want privacy. Also, B40 families usually have three children, so it’s large enough for them,” he said.
Tan added that the money that is lost in this project is less important as Yayasan My First Home’s (YMFH) overriding concern is to help those who cannot afford to buy a home.
Berjaya Land’s non-discounted developments are profitable and will make up for the loss incurred in providing affordable housing.
However, he said the charitable foundation has limited funds and urged other corporations to also step in to help.
Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming, who officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony, agreed with Tan.
“I hope other companies will follow in the footsteps of Berjaya Land to build similar homes. Despite knowing the company would make a loss by selling the units at RM250,000, you have still gone ahead with the project.
“Condominiums in the Subang Heights area are priced around RM500,000, and this affordable home project is selling at a far lower price.
“The demand for affordable houses has been rising, and the Negeri Sembilan and Penang governments have given the federal government free land to help build houses for the lower-income group,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tan urged the government to look into the possibility of building five-bedroom low-cost flats instead of three-bedroom units as many low-income parents have large families, adding that this is based on a study done by YMFH.
He also invited Nga to visit the BFAH show units at Berjaya Times Square to see for himself the potential they represent.
Berjaya Land Berhad CEO Syed Ali Shahul Hameed said: “The additional two bedrooms, two bathrooms, swimming pool and gymnasium and its strategic location in Subang Heights will add another RM10 million to the construction costs.”
He said Berjaya Land is inspired by Tan, who wants the additional features and benefits to be a worthwhile investment that will benefit the families.
Syed Ali said his company has a track record of constructing affordable homes to cater to a diverse community.
He said Berjaya Land’s affordable housing portfolio includes Lanai in Bukit Jalil with 648 units, Arena Green Bukit Jalil (1,240 units) and Akasia Berjaya Park in Shah Alam with 240 units.