Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Monday launched phase one of the 1Malaysia Housing Programme (PR1MA) which involves the construction of 42,000 houses on 20 strategic sites.
He said eight projects were expected to commence this year and in 2012 on the 20 sites which had been identified in the Klang Valley, Rawang and Seremban.
He said PR1MA was specifically for moderate-income Malaysians earning not more than RM6,000 monthly regardless whether they work with the government, the private sector or self-employed.
"The government is aware of difficulties faced by the moderate-income group who cannot afford to purchase high-priced houses but at the same time not eligible to be considered for the existing low-cost public housing programme.
"The implementation of PR1MA will be of help towards achieving the National Housing Policy's objective to provide sufficient, comfortable, quality and affordable housing," he said when launching PR1MA's first site at Presint 11 here.
The first PR1MA scheme in Presint 11 provides 560 apartment units on 7.6 acres of land.
The prime minister said that under the PR1MA scheme, each unit would be sold between RM150,000 and RM300,000 depending on location and size, and the size of each unit would be between 800 and 1,400 square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
"The applicants must be first time buyers for the PR1MA scheme and need to occupy the house and they can obtain loan up to 105 per cent from selected financial institutions with a payback period up to 30 years," he said.
Najib who is Finance Minister said that to prevent speculative activities among buyers whose intention was to sell for immediate profits, PR1MA house buyers were not allowed to sell the house within 10 years.
"The government's real goal in implementing the programme is to see the people enjoy better lives by owning their own houses and not to give room for some buyers raking in gains from speculative activities," he said.
Najib said the additional five per cent from the 105 per cent loan given would be able to help buyers bear insurance and legal costs for the preparation of their lease-purchase agreements.
He said buyers would also have the option to use part of their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings to cover part of the loan repayment.
EPF savings could also be used for the purpose of getting higher financing through the existing mechanisms including the ring-fencing scheme offered by several financial institutions, he said.
"As an added incentive, I would like to announce a stamp-duty exemption for housebuyers under the PR1MA scheme," he said.
Najib said the PR1MA programme was realised through Public Private Partnership whereby the government was ready to consider aid for the developers involved in terms of providing land and facilitation funds to ensure the houses could be offered at prices fixed by the government.
The prime minister also encouraged the use of Industrialised Building Systems (IBS) which gives emphasis on several aspects such as enhancing quality and building productivity, design standardisation and speed up the construction period.
Besides, he said, the developers also should apply green technology and environmentally-friendly concepts in implementing PR1MA projects.
"With this the people not only can purchase houses at affordable prices but also enjoy healthier lives with these homes incorporating green technology and environmentally-friendly concepts," he said.
Among developers involved in phase one of PR1MA are Putrajaya Holdings, SP Setia, Tradewinds, Cyberview, Sime Darby Property, MRCB Resources and 1MDB involving 825.1 acres in total.