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Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor pointed out that there are still many who cannot afford to buy a house mainly because the prices of houses are beyond their means.Kota Kinabalu: Professionals, especially architects, have been urged to design houses within the affordable price range for the low and medium-income groups.

"I cannot deny that the costs of building materials have increased, but I hope architects can come up with some imagination and design innovation so that everyone can own a house," he said at the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) Sabah Chapter's 35th Annual Dinner, here, Friday.

Both the Federal and State Governments, he said, have built low-cost houses for all Malaysians, with the objective of creating a home-owning society which in turn leads to a more contended and stable social order.

"With the increase in the population here, there is a need for more low and middle-cost houses. I appeal to the private sector developers to complement the Government's efforts in providing these houses for the low and middle-income society," he said.

Hajiji said he understood that developers would opt to build houses for the more affluent society to earn a bigger profit, yet he hoped they could also work towards assisting the society become a better place to live in.

Meanwhile, Hajiji also advised architects to always stay unique and creative to overcome challenges that may occur in the future.

"I urge architects to continue assisting the ministry in the development and in updating the relevant by-laws.

"Sabah has made considerable progress and development in the housing sector," Hajiji said, adding there is still room for improvement in this sense.

Hajiji also suggested that PAM set up a local school of architecture to train the younger generation to continue its unique fashion, and for the development of the industry in the State.

Towards the end, he said the Government would continue its support and provide assistance whenever possible to achieve this vision.

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