KUALA LUMPUR – When Norjauharatul Wahidah Zakaria finally succeeded in buying a house in 2016, it was a dream come true for her.
“To be honest, I had not reached a stage where I could afford a roof over my head but then I was thinking it was time to make an effort to buy one because house prices have been rising every year,” said the 32-year-old former spa employee who is now an executive at a private company, here.
When she heard of the My First Home Financing Scheme or MyDeposit – implemented by the federal government in April 2016 to enable middle-income earners to buy their first home – she became hopeful of her chances of owning a house; in fact, she was among the scheme’s early successful applicants.
By October 2016, Norjauharatul Wahidah, her husband, who is a private sector employee, and two children aged six and eight had already moved into their own house, a single-storey, three-bedroom unit at Bandar Kinrara in Puchong, Selangor.
“My dream came true,” she said, smiling. “It doesn’t matter how big or small our house is, the important thing is my husband and I, and our children have our own roof over our head.”
BIG HELP TO MIDDLE-INCOME GROUP
The MyDeposit scheme, which was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on April 6, 2016, is open to all Malaysians aged 21 and above and offers applicants 10 per cent financing or a maximum loan of RM30,000 for the purchase of houses costing RM500,000 and below.
Only those earning a monthly household income of between RM3,000 and RM15,000 are eligible for the scheme. Priority is given to married couples who have yet to own their first home and cannot afford the 10 per cent downpayment required for house purchases.
Norjauharatul Wahidah, who hails from Kuala Terengganu, said the government initiative has helped her and others in the middle-income group to realise their dream of becoming house owners.
When she first read about MyDeposit on Facebook and WhatsApp messages shared by her friends, she decided to try her luck by submitting her application.
“We personally submitted our application and the required supporting documents to the National Housing Department to ensure that it is handed over to the right people.
“We also went to the department several times to follow up on our application because their phone lines were always busy. Notice how determined we were to get a house of our own? Well, one has to try hard if one wants something,” she said.
WITHIN THEIR BUDGET
Urging middle-income earners not to let go of the opportunity to buy their own house, Norjauharatul Wahidah said they should also make sure that their application form is properly filled and all the required documents are submitted to the authorities in order to expedite the approval process.
She also advised aspiring house buyers to make a survey of the housing market and choose a property that was affordably priced and well within their budget.
“The government has implemented various initiatives to help young people to buy their own house, so it’s up to us to make an effort (to benefit from the initiatives).
“As for me, I can’t believe I’m living in my own house even though it is a second-hand unit. Still, it is the ‘heaven’ that I had been dreaming of all those years,” she said, adding that she has also encouraged her family members to apply to the MyDeposit scheme.
Commenting on the MyDeposit scheme, Universiti Utara Malaysia senior lecturer Muhammad Ridhuan Bos Abdullah said it has made it easier and faster for young Malaysians to purchase their own house.
“The MyDeposit scheme has proven to be effective because by putting a ceiling on the house price, it is targeting its financing at the right people, namely the middle-income group,” said Muhammad Ridhuan, who is attached to the university’s School of Economics, Finance and Banking.
“The MyDeposit financing gives extra value to successful applicants as they can use their savings, if they have any, to buy furnishing for their house.”
He said the MyDeposit scheme was a continuation of other government-subsidised housing schemes implemented earlier, such as 1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing, 1Malaysia People’s Housing, People’s Housing Project, Federal Territories Affordable Housing and 1Malaysia People-Friendly Homes.
All these housing schemes were in line with the government’s target of attaining inclusive growth, as spelt out in the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020), he said.
“The first strategy in the 11MP (Development Thrusts) is enhancing inclusiveness so that all segments of society can benefit from the nation’s development,” said Muhammad Ridhuan.
To ensure the well-being of the people, home ownership was among the issues the 11MP focused on, he said, adding that by 2020 a total of one million affordable housing units would be built throughout the country.
Opining that both public- and private-sector institutions play a part in helping to increase the supply of affordably-priced houses, Muhammad Ridhuan said more public-private partnerships should be set up to develop such housing schemes in suitable locations.
HELPING FIRST-TIME HOUSE BUYERS
The MyDeposit scheme is aimed at helping the middle-income group to buy their first home through private housing projects that are not subsidised by the government.
For 2018, the government has increased total incentives provided under the MyDeposit scheme to RM25 million, from RM20 million in 2017, to enable more eligible Malaysians to benefit from the scheme.
A total of 6,298 applicants had registered under the scheme between April 7, 2016 and October 2017.
Out of that number only 1,469 applications, involving payments exceeding RM38 million, were approved.
Applications for this year’s MyDeposit opened on Dec 15, 2017 and will close on Feb 18, 2018.
Interested applicants can register online at the National Housing Management System’s website at https://sprn.kpkt.gov.my/. – BERNAMA