“People First”? Najib, meet the poor Malays when you are in Kuching

By Chee How

The sun is setting on a housing estate with extensive open spaces with grass and trees, a flowing river and animated butterflies fluttering across the screen…

How wonderful … but is it really?

Prestige amidst nature’s bounty

This is how CMS Property Development Sdn Bhd described Bandar Baru Samariang in its website promoting its houses.

Yasin is certainly not impressed by the advertising gimmicks.

He has lived in Bandar Baru Samariang for the last 10 years, one of the pioneers in the ‘new’ township. But he has been living in the ghetto, very much shielded from the high-end housing estates –  even if the high-end estates themselves have little prestige to boast about.

Yasin’s family moved into the low-cost housing unit of RPR Samariang eight years ago. The family was overjoyed when Yasin’s father Pak Ali was allotted an intermediate terrace unit measuring 91 square metres, for the price of RM35,000.

P7180042“You were in luck,” a senior officer of the then Sarawak Housing & Development Commission told Pak Ali in 2001. “The government subsidised RM10,000 for each housing unit.”

“With the land given free by the government, we naturally expected a good house, worth RM45,000.00”, said Pak Ali, who now regrets leaving his former kampung house.

Bandar Baru Samariang was in the news last month when a strong wind blew across RPR Samariang, ripping away the roof tops of 80 houses.

“This is not the worst yet. We have just received a notice from the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), demanding that we pay up every single cent of our monthly housing installment arrears within 14 days, failing which we will be evicted from our house,” Pak Ali sounded troubled and depressed.

“An officer of HDC said that the same notice will be served on more than 150 families.”

Read more at: “People First”? Najib, meet the poor Malays when you are in Kuching