KUCHING: Urban renewal to redevelopment of old buildings especially flats which are more than 30 years old has of late become a topic of concern and public debate.
This comes about as the federal government mulls legislating new laws relating to the redevelopment of old buildings in the country, with the KMC flat buildings here included. Hence, the plan to review redevelopment in the area to ensure its liveability and vibrancy, as proposed by the Minister of Housing and Local Government Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian in 2017.
Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Datuk James Chan Khay Syn revealed there are plans to rebuild the flats and re-develop the area as an urban renewal initiative for Kuching.
He said MBKS has started an initial feasibility study of possible redevelopment of the flats and this was ongoing and at the discussion stages.
“In fact, there are many plans proposed to redevelop the area but the issue here lies in the balance of addressing housing affordability while unlocking economic potential.
“Thus, there was the initial dialogues with the tenants to assess their views on such plans to ensure that they are in the know of future planning for the good of the citizen and city itself,” he told the New Sarawak Tribune when contacted yesterday.
Chan pointed out the flat units in Padungan were constructed by MBKS’ predecessor Kuching Municipal Council (KMC) in 1957.
There are four types of KMC flats with a total of 531 units divided into 22 blocks, each named after a town in Sarawak, initially constructed to address the issue of housing shortages and it has since provided Kuchingnites with a conducive environment to start families and live close to work.
He reiterated that the flats were not only to cater for the urban poor but also for those people whose household income meet MBKS’s criteria of qualification to stay in the flat.
Furthermore, the council reviews the tenancy every three years to ensure that only those who really meet the present criteria, will stay at the flats, adding that current rental charges range from RM111 to RM179.00.
“As far as MBKS is concerned, we ensure all facilities are taken care of especially cleanliness in the area and regular care in cutting grass, drainage, proper rubbish collection and regular and speedy maintenance of lifts and spoilage of anything to ensure the tenants are happy and contented living in the flats,” he pointed out.
He assured that the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and state government would discuss the redevelopment of major housing projects nationwide, whereby, criteria for assessing and redeveloping old housing projects are part of the national housing policy.