SINGAPORE — Singapore's public housing programme was featured in an intense discussion during a parliamentary session in Malaysia.
During the session on Thursday (23 February), the Malaysian Minister of Local Government Development Nga Kor Ming defended his ministry's decision to consult with public housing experts from Singapore's Housing and Development Board (HDB) on public housing issues in Malaysia.
Nga was asked by a Member of Parliament (MP) from the opposition Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) to explain the rationale behind the consultation, even when Malaysia "has its own local town planning experts who could be tapped on for the said purpose".
In response, Nga said that the ministry will always take an "open-minded" approach toward solving the issues that often plague the housing industry in the country.
"The ministry is working toward and exploring new initiatives to improve the housing sector in Malaysia. This includes having knowledge and experience-sharing sessions with multiple agencies within and outside of the country. As long as it brings benefits to the people, this government will humble itself to learn from others regardless of where they are from or who they are," said the minister.
Nga also noted that previous engagements with Singapore's HDB had begun in 2018 through a visit by the former local government development minister to understand the planning and provisions of public housing in Singapore. He also highlighted the numerous international awards that Singapore's HDB had received for its success in designing, planning, developing, managing, innovating and digitalising the public housing sector in Singapore.
"The government will not only learn from experts from HDB, but will also take lessons from other countries that have had successes such as Indonesia and Thailand," Nga added. The minister also revealed that it was currently taking lessons from Turkiye on developing endowment land in Malaysia.
Previously, Nga was criticised for expressing his intent to consult experts from HDB, with critics claiming that he was trying to undermine the Malaysian civil service as "inefficient" by bringing in housing experts from abroad.