In Malaysia, a growing homeless generation – by Shazwan Mustafa Kamal – February 15, 2012
Property prices in urban areas such as Penang and Kuala Lumpur rose by up to 40 per cent in 2010. — propertymalaysia.my pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — The sight of newly-built condominium units right down the street from where he lives irks 24-year old Keoh, who says they are a symbol of something which he cannot afford.
The young man, who only wanted to be known as Keoh, carves a living as a fish trader and scoffed at the development within his neighbourhood in the fishing community of Jalan Bagan, Sekinchan. Costing RM500,000 a unit, he says the condominiums are an eyesore to him and those in his community.
“I stay with my parents. I work everyday, going to Perak in the morning to get my supplies of fish and drive a truck back here. But what have I got to show for it? I cannot afford to even buy a home in Sekinchan,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
“Even prices here are rising, and we are still earning the same. I do not think that any of my neighbours can afford a condominium like the one at the end of the road,” he said, adding that earning a monthly income of less than RM2,000 a month did not leave him much choice other than staying with his family.
Young adults, who are putting off buying a house, citing property prices as the underlying cause, are reflecting a growing trend.
Keoh says he cannot afford a home even in rural Sekinchan — Picture by Jack Ooi
Property prices have not been used as an election issue in the past but both coalitions have begun to realise its potential impact on young adults, who represent a sizable chunk of the country’s electorate.
The National House Buyers Association (HBA) last year warned that an entire generation of young adults risks being locked out of the property market due to runaway house prices.
Keoh previously lived in Subang, Selangor and worked as a mechanic for two years before financial constraints and family obligations brought him back to his Sekinchan hometown.
“I came back to help out the family business. Staying here, you’d think that the cost of living would be cheaper, but it is quite the opposite,” he said.
Twenty-seven-year-old Phillip Tay shares Keoh’s frustration. A biotechnology graduate-turned-marketing executive, he cuts a decent picture of the average middle-class graduate with a stable job and his own car.
“But the reality is, I cannot afford to purchase my own home. I live with my parents. After paying for monthly essentials, all I am left with is a little bit of savings.
“I think this is a frustration shared by many of my peers. We have jobs, some even professionals, but prices keep getting higher. We pay bills and more bills, and once we’re done with that there’s not much money left,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
Tay is staying with his parents like many of his peers due to the cost of property.
Tay believes the root problem lies in stagnant wages versus an increasingly high cost of living, which is in turn reflected in the price of homes.
“What the government can do is to come up with policies that can help address the issue of stagnant wages. Prices are going up but wages aren’t. I’d vote for a government which can look into that,” he said.
Accounts executive Rachel Tan says that young adults today are so debt-laden that it becomes impossible for them to even think about owning property.
“Young working adults are stuck right now, there’s poverty of a different kind. There’s a lot more debt at this age … someone my age already has so many loans to repay even before they can own a home, once they get out of university,” said the 23-year old living in Subang Jaya.
For pharmacist, Balqis Mohamad Zin, working with the government provides a better sense of financial security compared to working in the private sector.
But she too, like many others, is concerned about her future amid ever-rising living costs.
“The cost of property is very high, especially in urban areas. The cost of living worries me. Currently, I still get family support, but what if I get married in the future? What I am earning right now will not be enough.
“I am thankful to be employed, I know some people who are still unemployed after graduation. But where is my future from here? Financially I am concerned,” said the 25-year old.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in an attempt to address the issue of unaffordable property, introduced the 1 Malaysia Housing Programme (PR1MA), an affordable home ownership scheme late last year.
Najib initiated the first phase of PR1MA in July, which involves the construction of 42,000 houses on 20 strategic sites. Each unit will be sold for between RM150,000 and RM300,000 depending on location and size, and targets first-time homeowners with a household income of between RM2,500 and RM6,000.
Yanti told The Malaysian Insider, “The realistic choice is to live with my family.” — Picture by Jack Ooi
The scheme is a continuation of the prime minister’s attempt to tackle soaring property prices in urban centres following the My First Home programme launched in March last year which caters to lower-income households with a budget of RM220,000 and below.
Not to be outdone, the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government launched a Selangor affordable housing scheme last year offering apartments priced below RM100,000 to those who earn a monthly income of between RM2,500 and RM5,000.
But despite the vast array of affordable housing schemes available, the root problem of the high cost of homes still remains an issue, and looks set to prevail in the future.
There is also concern that low-cost housing schemes will have stigmas attached to them and therefore will be less attractive to homebuyers.
Property prices in urban areas such as Penang and Kuala Lumpur rose by up to 40 per cent in 2010 fuelled by low interest rates and a surge in speculative buying, although prices grew slower last year due to dampened sentiment from tightening measures such as a hike in the real property gains tax for early disposals.
Some reports have also estimated that property prices jumped from 5.9 times income in 1989 to 10.9 times in 2010.
The Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey rates markets, whose property prices are 5.1 times median income or more, as “severely unaffordable”.
The House Price Index (HPI), as prepared by the Valuation and Property Services Department, rose 7.5 per cent in the second quarter of last year as compared with the same period in 2010.
For urban centres like KL, to which young working adults are gravitating, the HPI has seen a rapid increase since 2004, growing relatively slowly from 100 in 2000 to 108 in 2003, before rising sharply from 115 in 2004 to 167 in the second quarter of last year.
“The prices are exorbitant and beyond the reach of young adults,” HBA secretary-general Chang Kim Loong told The Malaysian Insider last year. “The price increases are not commensurate with salary increases. How are young adults going to catch up (with house prices)?”
“It’s simple math. The combined income between me and my husband does not even amount to RM3,000 … the realistic choice is to live with my family. Cheaper costs.
“For me, I will vote for a government that will continue to provide aid, to help us. It’s difficult living when everything has a price,” Yanti, a cook from Sekinchan concludes.
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Housing prices must be matched to earnings levels. Look at the 1950s salary to house price ratios and implement price controls for developers. The ratio must be matched to 1950s otherwise all those older generationers will continue thinking they could do so well and insult the younger generation for doing so poorly. The fault lies with the developers who raise house prices well beyond salary capacities. Today’s salary to house price ratios are at least 10,000 times costlier and need to be controlled and limited at least for the middle and lower cost properties. From what I heard, a large Mansion cost 30000 in the 1950s. The same Mansion costs 10 million at least today. That means the cost is 30,000 times more. Now in those days a degree holder would earn 300 a year or less. The same degree holder earns 20-50K a year today which is 3 times higher by house to ratio consideration in general BUT house prices are 10 times costlier – lower and middle wealth salaries have not caught up.
300.00 ÷ 30K (1940s) = 1:100 times house price to salary ratio compared to today’s 30K ÷ 10,000,000 (2010s) ÷ by population growth of 30 times = 1:1000 times house price to salary ratio!
Hence todays housing prices to salary ratios are 1:1000 times, as opposed to 1:100 times in the past – even though population is not 30 to 50 times more, and salaries have increased only a mere 3 times more as opposed to the 10 times costlier house. Within 3 generations the prices have increased 10 times and the older generation wants to insult the younger generation for being homeless? Try 30 times as many competitors and 30 times LESS land to live on and work from.
Finally, note how wealthy today’s developers are compared to yesteryear’s handyman-on-site types.
So why so much homelessness? Simple : NO PRICE CONTROLS based on SALARY to HOUSE PRICE RATIOS in a show of RAMPANT PROFITEERING . . . amongst other things like population growth and maturation of society and social values.
Don’t think so highly of yourselves fogeys, try 30 times as many competitors and 30 times LESS land to live on and work from. Also there aren’t even any jobs and the emotional/mental state of citizens is so cynical and pennywise that it is impossible to sell anything these days, with media being the only necessity which should really be free or immensely lowered in price -n again uncontrolled by government to enrich cronies . . . the money ends up in a handful of 1%ter hands, the profits are immense and Capitalism should have Socialist caps so that excess wealth can be redistributed instead of creating riot conditions as in the Croydon England situation or ‘Occupy’ rallies across the world .
Population control should also be considered, so by the 2.1 child requirement to maintain a population, 3rd child families should have all future taxes applicable to all 3 children subject to a ‘Population Control Tax’ (30% divided by 3 for 10% more each – for coming from a family with a 3rd child) leviable on the children when they have grown up.
Conversely single child parents could have a 30% discount given to their expenditures and taxes, or property acquisition for lowering population. This is to discourage overpopulation without extreme and human rights abusive methods like sterilisation. This control must be matched by a non-consumerist profit oriented market, meaning growth cannot be based on population growth from here on and that development of property/construction stocks will slow until ZERO to be replaced by building services/building maintenance companies instead.
The era of building and consumerism is over, until new governance and ‘overpopulation sustainability’ paradigms are involved – but does the world revolve around profits of developers? Unlikely. Developers themselves could try new materials, higher buildings, multi-storey farming comes to mind but unless at lower density levels, quality of life could suffer even more. 1000 sqft pigeon coops or even 2000 sqft or less rabbit hutch terraces are already dense enough.
An Idea Whose Time Has Come? Posted on 16. Jul, 2011 by Editor in World News – Another side of the picture in US.
Editor’s Note: For those who may not be familiar, Pat Buchanan was on Ronald Reagan’s staff and later a Republican presidential candidate. He is looking at the world events, as they have been unfolding in 2011, with a wide zoom lens. A good read – whether you are a Muslim or not. It was floating on the net, due to its great importance its been published without giving the credentials to where it was originally published.
An Idea Whose Time Has Come?
By Patrick J. Buchanan
In 1938, the year of Anschluss and Munich, a perceptive British Catholic looked beyond the continent over which war clouds hung and saw another cloud forming.
“It has always seemed to me … probable,” wrote Hilaire Belloc, “that there would be a resurrection of Islam and that our sons or our grandsons would see the renewal of that tremendous struggle between the Christian culture and what has been for more than a thousand years its greatest opponent.”
Belloc was prophetic. Even as Christianity seems to be dying in Europe, Islam is rising to shake the 21st century as it did so many previous centuries.
Indeed, as one watches U.S. armed forces struggle against Sunni insurgents, Shia militias, and jihadists in Iraq, and a resurgent Taliban, all invoking Allah, Victor Hugo’s words return to mind: No army is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.
The idea for which our many of our adversaries fight is a compelling one. They believe there is but one God, Allah; that Muhammad is his prophet; that Islam, or submission to the Koran, is the only path to paradise; and that a Godly society should be governed according to the Shariah, the law of Islam. Having tried other ways and failed, they are coming home to Islam.
What idea do we have to offer? Americans believe that freedom comports with human dignity, that only a democratic and free-market system can ensure the good life for all, as it has done in the West and is doing in Asia.
From Ataturk on, millions of Islamic peoples have embraced this Western alternative. But today, tens of millions of Muslims appear to be rejecting it, returning to their roots in a more pure Islam.
Indeed, the endurance of the Islamic faith is astonishing.
Islam survived two centuries of defeats and humiliations of the Ottoman Empire and Ataturk’s abolition of the caliphate. It endured generations of Western rule. It outlasted the pro-Western monarchs in Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Ethiopia and Iran. Islam easily fended off communism, survived the rout of Nasserism in 1967, and has proven more enduring than the nationalism of Arafat or Saddam. Now, it is resisting the world’s last superpower.
What occasioned this column was a jolting report in the June 20Washington Times, by James Brandon, alerting us to a new front.
“Arrests Spark Fear of Armed Islamist Takeover” headlined the story about the arrest, since May, of 500 militants who had allegedly plotted the overthrow of the king of Morocco and establishment of an Islamic state that would sever all ties to the infidel West – to end the poverty and corruption they blame on the West.
The arrests raised fears that al-Adl wa al-Ihsane, or Justice and Charity, was preparing to take up arms to fulfill the predictions of the group’s mystics that the monarchy would fall in 2006. Though illegal, al-Adl wa al-Ihsane is Morocco’s largest Islamic movement, which boycotts elections, but has hundreds of thousands of followers and has taken over the universities and is radicalizing the young.
Its founder is Sheik Abdessalam Yassine, who has declared its purpose is to reunite mosque and state: “Politics and spirituality have been kept apart by the Arab elites. And we have been able to reconnect these two aspects of Islam – and that is why people fear us.”
And, one might add, why people embrace them.
If Morocco is now in play in the struggle between militant Islam and the West, how looks the correlation of forces in June 2006?
Islamists are taking over in Somalia. They are in power in Sudan. The Muslim Brotherhood won 60 percent of the races it contested in Egypt. Hezbollah swept the board in southern Lebanon. Hamas seized power from Fatah on the West Bank and Gaza. The Shia parties who hearken to Ayatollah Sistani brushed aside our favorites, Chalabi and Iyad Allawi, in the Iraqi elections. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the most admired Iranian leader since Khomeini. In Afghanistan, the Taliban is staging a comeback.
This has all happened in the last year. And where are we winning?
What is the appeal of militant Islam? It is, first, its message: As all else has failed us, why not live the faith and law God gave us?
Second, it is the Muslim rage at the present condition where pro-Western regimes are seen as corruptly enriching themselves, while the poor suffer.
Third, it is a vast U.S. presence that Islamic peoples are taught is designed to steal their God-given resources and assist the Israelis in humiliating them and persecuting the Palestinians.
Lastly, Islamic militants are gaining credibility because they show a willingness to share the poverty of the poor and fight the Americans.
What America needs to understand is something unusual for us: From Morocco to Pakistan, we are no longer seen by the majority as the good guys.
If Islamic rule is an idea taking hold among the Islamic masses, how does even the best army on earth stop it? Do we not need a new policy?
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How about “Fall of Uncontrolled Capitalism”, “Rise of Multi-Faith-ism” and “Multi-Governance Paradigmism”, than “Islam” alone?
I’m sure the likes of the WH lobby types, hegemonists, fifth columnists and such want to live a ‘Mad Max’ reality, so take a corner of one of the drier states and assign them the space of a microstate like Singapore to play act BDSM, hellhole, Zion-Vader culture. The rest of the world though will remain multi-polar and multi-faith, multi-governance paradigm rather than mono-anything. Diversity is sustainable, but a single anything, Capitalism, Communism, Islam or Hinduism WORLDWIDE will totally fail.
So how about “Fall of Capitalism” and “Rise of Multi-Faith-ism” and “Multi-Governance Paradigmism”.
Here’s a solution that will not need a single cent.
Offer each person currently on ‘food stamps’ or ‘council housing’, LAND for subsistence farming and make them live in a tent. Very Soviet era-esque, but when American citizens begin herding their own animals, composting rubbish rather than buying fertilisers, burning firewood rather than using electrical heaters and begin growing their own staples (which can also be made into biofuel), tobacco, own food – sugar (need to be in wet climate), coffee and cocoa (need to be in warm climate), milk (yay beverages are free did you not know . . . Coffee franchises have been hitting everyone for a fortune . . . ), collecting rainwater/digging wells, making their own clothes from home grown cotton, ALL FOR FREE, USA (actually the whole world) will finally be rid of the debt caused by unnecessary middlemen for staple goods, sequestration of land by the state and dependence on food stamps or homeless shelters (See below link on this group as well for homelessness solutions . . . ).
Is Ending Homelessness Just a Dream? – Joel John Roberts – 13th June 2011
Ditch those cars and vehicles, use draft animals which can also be eaten. Or bicycles as in China, with ‘sidecar’ attachments if carrying goods. No more spending on fuel. The other thing of course would be to END ALL EXPENSIVE WARS. Whos up for life in 1800s America? Better than post millenial decay as we see now for certain while USA indulges in wars without end.
Liquidate EVERYTHING excess for precious metals (even dump the same for commodities or REAL goods – precious metals are instrinsically useless and a representative of value and do not represent value), buy land to cultivate your own food, do not fuel ANY paper shuffling, pen pushing ‘Suit’ or ‘Electricity using Industries’ and live like a Hillbilly (and don’t go ‘Oil’ like the Beverly ones because Fusion energy tech is just around the corner). Grow biofuel crops for your electricity, grow your own cotton, get the wife to learn to use the loom, dump the car for a donkey or bullock and cart (no more road tax!), live in a Yurt made from your own skinned domestic animals instead of paying for construction, make your own beer, wine and yoghurt, a bone fence? I wouldn’t recommend General ‘Butt Naked’s organic/fleshcore format though . . . go figure, fava beans, liver and chianti could well be the peak of nihilism and population control but cannibalism is not something ‘Soylent Greeners’ are going to get to push on the non-consensual and the pious though probably legal under civil considerations.
Burn dried dung pats and firewood for warmth which can again be used for 100% organic fertilizer. If enough people do all of this,the ‘duopolist bilderberg stooge Congress’ and government itself is finished. Buy some gunz and bibles (or whatever religious text or kama sutra . . .). Oh and remember to vote ONLY for the POOREST candidate on the list. If every candidate is rich, then it is your duty to run for candidacy to prevent a plutocracy forming out of the government.
We are ALL fed up but 90% of Americans are still walking in their sleep. – Hat-tip to Dude who wrote on July 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm:
I’m sick and tired of these gloom and doom articles without telling us how to fight/prevent this.
Can anyone tell us how we can collectively fight this wall street fiasco?? What can we do to stop this economic chaos??
Yes, but the key concept here is ‘collectively’.
The Repugnicans have convinced half of America that a Muslim-socialist – and, coincidentally, black – usurper has stolen the Presidency and is intent upon the destruction of America.
The Demonrats are convinced of something equally irrational – I’m not sure what. Neither party can be blamed individually, however. For if one looks at their actions instead of their words, they both appear to be the enemy within.
As long as we fight among ourselves over whether the severe, real and observable climate change is natural or anthropogenic, and whether it presages global warming or a new ice age;
As long as half of us argue that the economy is actually improving and the way to continue to improve it is to stop taxing the only people who can afford to pay taxes;
As long as we leave no child behind and thereby reduce the norm for education to teaching the answers and not the lessons;
As long as people who rob banks serve 25 years in prison, but banks which rob people are given tax dollars and exempted from the laws which govern the citizenry;
As long as more people are killed or injured annually by falls and table saws – and killed in hospitals from simple medical mistakes but that the root cause of death is firearms and that the Constitution is ‘just a piece of paper’;
As long as we fight other people’s civil wars, which neither side ever wins but both sides end up hating us – and, instead, fighting the ‘war on terror’ and ‘the war on drugs’ against American citizens instead of working for the best interests and wishes of the American citizens who elected the people who make these decisions;
As long as we elect and pay politicians who work for themselves and their corporate sponsors and against us in the favor of special interests (read ‘big money’) and do so openly and blatantly for the most part;
As long as we are referred to by the current President – and most recent previous Presidents as “The American People”- instead of “US”, because they think they are no longer part of “US”;
Until we understand that there is something fundamentally wrong with a country which requires its unemployed citizens to purchase health insurance or face midnight raids and be tossed into debtor’s prison by the IRS and THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION – but regards as unconstitutional that anyone should have to prove their citizenship;
Until we man-up, stand up, smarten up, get together, and COLLECTIVELY have a million-man-march on Washington with our rifles, nothing will be done.
I can go on. I can be specific – but then I will be accused of treason because I have the temerity to demand that the US government and ALL of its elected, appointed and SWORN officials honor and obey their oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic or they will be and should be and, according to the Constitution, MUST be removed and replaced by any means necessary, your question will never be answered but by a few people like me.
My solution is simple. Everyone with an ounce of sense must register as ‘Independent’ and leave the established criminal political parties to wilt on the vine. Once people begin to vote for results rather than lies, things must change. If, by then, there is anything left to change.
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Education does not need a 10s billions worth University or a single building, do it like they did in the past – in a Warehouse-Barn or under a large tree, in and do not allow ‘Professor’ to charge exhorbitant fees (i.e. no more than allows him to retire in comfort or with some dignity, not extreme wealth) simply because he groups up with other ‘Professor’s’ and calls a bunch of buildings a University and forms a ‘Council of Scientists’ that begins Scientology or Hubology or what not towards Theocracy par excellence – Mother Hubbard (no reference to Ron – Hubbard that is, wouldn’t want to upset the Thetans . . . not that the Thetans are exactly aware of the floundering going on here . . . ) never had it better with a cupboard more bare, though we do not wish upon them worse to remain above them! Education is a human right and must be made FREE, not create debt slaves of young people that become bankrupts while plutocrats destroy the planet.