The federal government has raised aid for housing the poor to RM33,000 per unit in peninsula Malaysia and RM40,000 for Sabah and Sarawak.

Rural and Regional Development Minister Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib said the decision made at the Cabinet meeting on Oct 1 had raised aid for two-room houses in peninsula to RM29,300 and RM33,000 for three-room houses.

Previously, the government aid for housing the poor was RM20,300-RM22,300 per unit, he told reporters after visiting Kampung Mengkabung near here, Sunday.

For Sabah and Sarawak, the aid was RM33,000 per unit for two-room houses and RM40,000 per unit for three-room houses, up from RM22,300-RM25,300 previously.

Muhammad said the increased aid would give the hardcore poor particularly single parents the chance to own houses and showed that the government was sensitive to the needs of homeless families.

The Cabinet also increased aid to repair houses from RM8,000 to RM11,000 per unit for peninsula and from RM9,000 to RM12,000 for Sabah and Sarawak, increases of 33-37 percent.

The increased aid would help eradicate hardcore poor in rural areas by 2010 and reduce the country’s poverty rate from 5.7 percent in 2004 to 2.8 percent in 2010.