Malaysia -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
The Donald family is pictured in front of their old house in Malaysia.
The Donald family is pictured in front of their new Habitat house.
PDF version of this profile.
TROPICAL, RESOURCE-RICH Malaysia is a nation of two distinct geographic regions. Peninsular Malaysia boasts large cities and an active agricultural, industrial and service economy. Across the South China Sea lies East Malaysia. East Malaysia, spread along much of the northern coast of the giant island of Borneo, is a land of forests and plantations.
The federal government and state governments support public housing schemes in urban areas, yet many families are not reached through these programs. Affordability is an issue. Land and housing costs are often too high for the 6 percent of the population who live below the poverty level. Families find themselves living in squatter communities in larger cities. In the countryside housing needs are more acute, and there is less formal help.
Habitat for Humanity Malaysia therefore focuses its work on helping to meet the needs of low-income families in rural areas. In rural Sarawak, for example, nearly one-third of Habitat’s target group consists of families with insufficient incomes to build on their own land or unable to afford other housing programs.
HFH Malaysia built its first house in 1999 in Kuching, Sarawak. There are affiliates in Kuching (1999), Kuala Lumpur (2003) and Kota Kinabalu (2004).
HFH Malaysia works in both semi-urban and rural areas, building houses along with renovations. It also seeks community partnerships to obtain land for needy families.
Habitat affiliates use various construction methods: raised floor construction with timber; concrete slab construction with hollow blocks; and modular house construction with polystyrene panels. The average house size ranges from 50 sq. m. up to nearly 60 sq. m.
Homeowners typically repay their no-profit mortgage over ten years at an average of US$26.50 a month. In most cases this is lower than the rents they paid prior to becoming Habitat homeowners.
Corporations play a key role in supporting HFH Malaysia’s programs. Among the strong supporters is Marriott International, which adopted Habitat for Humanity in 1995 as part of its “Spirit To Serve Our Communities” program.
• In July 2006, 20 volunteers from Renaissance Hotels & Resorts Malaysia and Miri Marriott Resort & Spa worked on two houses in two remote villages in Kota Kinabalu. Volunteers have contributed their labor on Habitat builds in Sabah and Sarawak since 2003; Renaissance hotels in Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Kota Bharu adopted Habitat as their community service project in May 2004, providing volunteer teams, facilities and other resources.
• The Kota Kinabalu affiliate launched Climb & Build in April 2006. Visitors to Sabah have the option of building houses with the affiliate in Sabah and scaling Southeast Asia’s highest mountain, Mount Kinabalu, before or after the build.
• The Kuching affiliate dedicated its 30th Habitat home in May 2005.
• Cargill International (Malaysia) provided an US$11,000 grant for Kuala Lumpur’s fourth and fifth Habitat Homes in April 2006.
• Miri Marriott became a Habitat partner in 2005.
• Successful second Habitat Benefit Concert with The Manhattan Trio held in Kuching in February 2005.
• International School of Kuala Lumpur has sent five work teams through an active Campus Chapter.
Population: 24,385,858 (July 2006 est.)
Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Area: 329,750 sq. km.
Ethnic groups: Malay 50.4%, Chinese 23.7%, Indigenous 11%, Indian 7.1%, others 7.8% (2004 est.)
Languages: Bahasa Melayu (official), English, Mandarin, Chinese dialects, Tamil,
Telugu, Malayalam, Punjabi, and Iban, Kadazan and indigenous languages
Religions: Muslim, Buddhist, Daoist, Hindu, Christian, Sikh. (Shamanism is practiced in the interiors of East Malaysia)