Sime Darby to Develop Model Townships for Low and Middle-Income Earners
Kuala Lumpur, Dec 6 - Sime Darby Berhad tonight launched an initiative to build model townships of affordable housing for thousands of low and middle-income earners in several states.
This move will address the pent-up demand for affordable housing here, and comes a week after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi urged the diversified multinational not to forget its roots as it sets out to become a global champion.
Under the Bandar Gemilang Sime Darby programme, the diversified multinational plans to turn slivers of its vast tracts of plantation land in Labu, Negeri Sembilan, Gurun in Kedah and Vision City in Selangor into townships with a mix of apartments, link houses, semi-detached houses, libraries, schools, sports fields, police stations and places of worship for the major religions. In addition, 30 per cent of the land area in each of the townships will be dedicated to open space, parks and landscaped gardens.
But the most interesting feature will be the size of the apartments and houses - they will be larger in size than typical low and medium cost apartments and houses.
While the standard size of a low cost link house is about 600 square feet, the low-rise apartments in Bandar Gemilang will be bigger, averaging at about 900 square feet.
In addition, some of the residential units will be flexible and can be extended or expanded according to the needs of the house owners. For example, two-storey cluster homes will average around 1,300 sq feet but can be extended to 1,600 sq feet when the family grows bigger.
This new feature will be warmly embraced by Malaysians who have long complained that existing low-cost homes are too small and rarely take into account the needs of larger families.
The plan for Bandar Gemilang Sime Darby was outlined by Tun Musa Hitam, chairman of Sime Darby Berhad at the official launch of the Sime Darby Convention Centre tonight.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was the guest-of-honour at the launch.
Phase One of the programme will be in Labu, Negeri Sembilan, where 600 acres of plantation land will be turned into a model township. The next scheme will be near Gurun, Kedah, followed by the Vision City in Selangor.
The PM, a passionate supporter of housing for lower and middle income groups, said that he was excited by the potential and the promise of this concept.
"I am delighted and pleased by the uniqueness of such a development project. I believe it holds great promise in providing affordable homes for the people, at the same time raising the quality of life as well as enhancing their economic prospects.
"Indeed, the measure of a nation's progress and development is signified not just by the level of economic growth, but also by the quality of life enjoyed by its people, '' said the PM in his speech.
He was pleased that Sime Darby was working hard towards fulfilling its corporate social responsibility for the nation and urged the rest of corporate Malaysia to do the same in their respective fields.
During the launch of Sime Darby on Nov 28, the PM reminded the multinational "never to forget its roots’’ and consider building communities for the less privileged.''
In his speech, Tun Musa Hitam said that the number of units built at each of the three initial sites will depend on the demand from potential home owners. Sime Darby, he added, aimed to create sustainable communities and was confident that the Bandar Gemilang programme will be well-received by the rakyat.
Houses under the programme will be energy efficient, will benefit from a water recycling system and be surrounded by lush greenery.
"Efforts will also be made to encourage sustainable initiatives such as waste recycling, utilizing of recyclable building materials and harnessing of rainwater for irrigation purposes, '' said Tun Musa.
For the Bandar Gemilang programme to be a success, Sime Darby would require the support of various government agencies in fast tracking approvals and concessions, he noted.
Sime Darby, a Malaysia-based diversified multinational, is involved in the key growth sectors of plantations, property, power and utilities, industrial equipment and motors. It has a workforce of 104,000 in over 20 countries and is committed to developing sustainable futures for everyone.
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