Property Insight > Cover Story > Pushing the affordable housing agenda forward

Pushing the affordable housing agenda forward

Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad’s Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Ahmad Azizi Hj Ali shares their aspiration to be different in delivery and focused on quality.

Property Insight caught up with an influential figure in the property industry, Datuk Ahmad Azizi Haji Ali, who helms Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB) as Group Chief Executive Officer. He takes us through SPNB’s 20-year milestone and how the company has set itself apart from other industry players.

SPNB is a government-owned company under the supervision of  the  Ministry of Finance. It was established in 1997 with an objective to provide quality and affordable homes, in line with the National Housing Policy.

SPNB was appointed to develop affordable homes priced at RM250,000 and below through various programmes such as Rumah Aspirasi Rakyat and Rumah Idaman Rakyat, delivering projects which are unique and designed with liveability standards in mind for homebuyers. To help manage its objectives, SPNB also formed    subsidiary    companies such as SPNB Aspirasi, SPNB Idaman, and SPNB Mesra.

“Among the top three factors which attribute to success, would firstly be the government’s support in providing aid, facilitation of funds and their word to provide affordable homes. Besides that, SPNB has undertaken three programmes with low interest financing, namely Rumah Mesra Rakyat, Rumah Idaman Rakyat and Rumah Aspirasi Rakyat. We have completed 96,042 units and we are currently building 12,250 units in several states,” says Ahmad.

To cater to the needs of all income groups, most homes built by SPNB were sold 10% to 20% below market price. Ahmad says that he is particular on the timely delivery of each project and that these projects need to be catered aptly for homebuyers. “For instance, we have embarked into the SPNB Aspirasi which caters to different market segments for the underprivileged and so on,” he adds. Since joining SPNB, Ahmad was empowered to deliver, be successful in all endeavours, inspire dedicated staff and delegate teamwork. “I have a high level of tolerance but I’m flexible. I prefer the management to walk with me and my expectation towards the team is to perform on their own capacity. But if they need my guidance to make a decision, then I would be supportive as long as we don’t break any rule,” affirms Ahmad.


SPNB’s latest developments are located in Cyberjaya (Selangor), Batu Gajah (Perak), Gurun (Kedah), Seremban (Negeri Sembilan), Tuaran (Sabah) and Miri (Sarawak). In the pipeline, SPNB is targeting to launch projects worth RM12.4 billion in gross development value (GDV).

As for SPNB Idaman, the current development involves five projects and 1,236 units that are located in Kuala Muda (Kedah), Tambun (Perak), Jasin (Melaka), Bentong (Pahang) and Labis (Johor) with a GDV amounting to RM262 million. There are also six new projects next year involving 2,219 units with a total GDV of RM470 million.


SPNB’s staff retention has been exceptionally impressive with minimal staff turnover yearly. “Our staff turnover is very low. In fact, it is less than 1% from 2001 to date. Most of our staff have served the organisation for more than a decade. I have been serving for the past 14 years in SPNB,” says Ahmad.

To overcome the challenges SPNB faces on the property and economic front, the company ensures its sustainability by increasing efforts in promotions, sales and collections. SPNB also improvises their approach by forming strategic alliances with reliable business partners. Their most recent involves signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MNC Wireless Bhd to address financial issues and digital technology solutions pertaining to a project.

Ahmad does not deny that they also have to withstand the tough market sentiment, especially when  it  comes to sales. He says the main hurdle is for his sales team to convert bookings into SPNB  introduced  a  video  and  virtual sales. Due to the high loan rejection rates in past months, SPNB had to increase promotions and marketing efforts.

SPNB saw its sales in the third quarter of 2017 increase by 13% from a year ago. Ahmad says progress of projects have decelerated but have not stalled, as they have an approach to engage closely with stakeholders.

Despite a healthy number of registrations for its projects, SPNB faced challenge with customers securing loans for planned launches. Ahmad says that for every three bookings, only one was managed to be converted into a sale.

“We took a calculated risk. We were confident  the  products  could  sell  fast enough to self-finance the projects. Our sales targets are revised often too,” he says. One example of a calculated risk taken by SPNB are projects under Rumah Idaman Rakyat which have commenced construction without any bridging loans. SPNB carries out extensive analysis to gauge current property market conditions

– which managed to be above par level this year based on  a  report  produced by Valuation and Property Services Department (NAPIC). But for Ahmad, his worries stem from the National Bank’s current report stating that the property market is experiencing the highest level of unsold houses in a decade, for house priced above RM250,000.


SPNB has drawn-up strategic initiatives and has since doubled their efforts to further improve their sales target – which is to achieve a 50% sales increase in 2018. Some of their marketing strategies include the implementation of the SPNB e-Sales App, a paperless and facilitating payment of bookings and monitoring of the digital sales system management.

SPNB has a Home Ownership Made Easy programme which helps buyers get end-financing by assisting them in credit rating management  and maintaining  a healthy financial pattern in Credit Tip Off Service (CTOS) and Central Credit Reference Information (CRISS) systems. Meanwhile, its SPNB Dana Credit Enhancement  helps  buyers  settle the differential sum when the approval of a 100% loan fails.

Another initiative carried out by SPNB are through surveys, which helps the company learn how to create more compelling promotions and attract potential customers.

One of SPNB’s promotions is a campaign called Rumah Pertama SPNB which targets the youth. SPNB signed an MoU with UiTM to educate final year students as well as their parents on owning a first home.

To attract potential prospects for its Aspire  Residence  project  in  Cyberjaya, SPNB  introduced  a  video  and  virtual reality box (a 3D show unit). This enables the company to showcase virtual show units during property exhibition events.

A sponsorship programme was also introduced to increase brand awareness, promote a  positive  image  and  capture a wider demographic. It is hoped  that this will bring in  an  attractive  return on investment for the projects. The company have collaborated with Grab and Uber services for clients to visit project sites and show units without much hassle. SPNB is also in the works of collaborating with IKEA and Signature Kitchen for furnishing purposes via a fully furnish concept.


SPNB’s aim is to become the nation’s first choice for affordable homes especially for first-time home buyers, with an aspiration to build high-quality affordable homes. “For the first  time, we have been accredited to  take  up the Quality Assessment System in Construction (QLASSIC) technique for our homes even for the show  units, and we are going to continue with the method for our houses. We have sent our technical teams in batches to receive full accreditation from the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) on the engineering and utilisation in full in the future,” adds Ahmad.

SPNB has included in their agreements for contractors to be certified with QLASSIC and accredited by CIDB. The company has also sent its staff to attend European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD) management programmes in Singapore  with  the  aim of transforming its executives to be more impactful in delivery and execution at the management  level.

The company aspires to have one of its subsidiaries listed on Bursa Malaysia by 2019. SPNB has intentions to be involved in providing homes in the premium sector to cross-subsidise their Rumah Mesra Rakyat 1Malaysia for the bottom 40% (B40) income bracket group too. Many plans are placed on the plate for SPNB to continue soaring higher in the property market in times to come.



21 August 1997

  • Inaugural of SPNB under the Ministry of Finance (MOF).



  • SPNB appointed as implementation agent for the rehabilitation of abandoned projects by Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government (KPKT). In 2012, SPNB successfully rehabilitated 14,951 units of abandoned houses across the nation.
  • Formed USL, a joint venture company between SPNB (51% stake) and Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT). USL is a design and built contractor which undertook the construction of 6,550 units of army quarters in Klang Valley that were completed in 2008.



  • Introduced Skim Rumah Keluarga Nelayan Terengganu, designed to assist lower income earners especially fishermen to build houses on their own land. The government subsidized a third of those home prices to ensure affordability. The programme was later named Rumah Mesra Rakyat. SPNB constructed more than 40,000 of such homes.



  • Agensi Pengurusan Bencana Negara (NADMA), formerly known as Majlis Keselamatan Negara, appointed SPNB as an implementation agent to provide homes for flood and tsunami victims in Kedah, Penang and Acheh.



  • Program Rumah Mesra Rakyat was expanded to Sabah and Sarawak.

  • NADMA appointed SPNB once again to develop homes for flood victims in Johor, Pahang, Kelantan and Sabah.

  • Received endorsement from SIRIM QAS International Sdn Bhd for the implementation of the Quality Management System which complies with ISO 9001: 2008 – QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS.



  • Rebranding of Rumah Mesra Rakyat. YAB Dato Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak announced the programme’s change of name to Rumah Mesra Rakyat 1Malaysia (RMR1)
  • New design was introduced using Integrated Building System (IBS) and IBS Hybrid System.
  • Introduced RMR Online System for online application system.


  • Rumah Idaman Rakyat was introduced.
  • SPNB underwent a business transformation process whereby new subsidiaries were established while strengthening existing subsidiaries:

1.      SPNB Aspirasi Sdn Bhd

2.      SPNB Idaman Sdn Bhd

3.      SPNB Mesra Sdn Bhd

4.      SPNB Edar Sdn Bhd

5.      SPNB Dana Sdn Bhd

6.      USL Sdn Bhd



  • Won The Best Affordable House Developer at the Property Insight Prestigious Developer Award (PIPDA) 2016.
  • MOU with CIDB to implement Quality Assessment System for Building Construction Works (QLASSIC) assessment system to measure the quality of construction projects



  • SPNB Aspirasi Sdn Bhd was bagged the Best High-Rise Development award for its Aspire Residence project at the Property Insight Prestigious Developer Award (PIPDA) 2017.
  •  SPNB Mesra Sdn Bhd won Best Developer Award 2017 in conjunction with Affordable House Expo 2017 organized by Melaka Housing Board
  • Won People Developer Award – Malaysia International Business Award 2017 (MIBA).
  • SPNB inked MoUs with partners:
  • Ajiya Bhd, to use Ajiya Green Integrated Building Solutions (“AGIBS”) for the development of housing projects under SPNB group.
  • FELDA, for the implementation of 20,000 second generation FELDA homes (RMR-FELDA).
  • MOU with MNC Wireless as the digital technology solutions partner to support SPNB group’s transformation towards digitalization of its business processes.


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