KOTA KINABALU, Jan 20 ― A mad scramble for affordable homes under the People’s Housing Project (PPR) scheme near Meruntum and Putatan on the outskirts of Sabah’s capital city here literally ended with broken doors earlier this week.
A video of the stampede has been making the rounds, showing a crush of people shouting as they stormed into a hall, believed to be at the Putatan district council office, to get forms for a new low-cost housing project here, and breaking the wooden doors in the process.
Kejadian berlaku di putatan, dimana orang ramai berebut-rebut untuk mendapatkan borang PPR(projek perumahan rakyat) sehinggakan pintu dewan pun habis dipecahkan.Posted by Penampang Bulletin on Monday, January 18, 2016
Penampang district police chief deputy superintendent Rosley Hobden said he received a report of the incident which occurred Monday at the district council.
“The crowd was too much and got out of control. So the council ended up cancelling the event. They have since then said the application will now be online,” Rosley told Malay Mail Online when contacted yesterday.
There was no altercation and no one was injured in the stampede, he said, adding that police action was not needed.
“It wasn’t a major incident. The door was made of plywood after all, but there was just a big crowd,” he said.
The Putatan District Council could not be reached for response at the time of writing. However, it announced on its Facebook page that the PPR application forms will soon be available online.
Applicants can download the form and send it to the council along with an RM5 payment before February 18.
Comments on the video on the Facebook page of “Penampang Bulletin” has drawn over 3,500 times it was uploaded Monday.
Commentators claimed the would-be homeowners had queued up for hours and had to put up with the sweltering heat, which underscored the property price explosion in Sabah today.
“Apa x...smua org dari pagi datang..ada yg jam 6 pagi lagi dtg...mana lagi b'jemur kepanasan d luar bukan ada org peduli ..” Facebook user Qieqie Qingzz said in Malay.
[Translation: “To be expected. Everyone has been there from morning, some as early as 6am. They have been standing under the hot sun and no one cared”]
Some commented that the hustle for the forms was borne from desperation as Sabahans struggle with housing prices that rival or exceed those in crowded cities in the peninsula.
Property prices in the state capital ― where land scarcity is not currently an issue ― are among the highest in the country though the gross domestic product per capita is among the lowest.
The average salary for Sabah is also lower than their counterparts in West Malaysia with minimum monthly wage set at RM920, according to last year’s Budget 2016 announcement.
The two housing projects just on the outskirts of the city, will see about 500 units to be built in Meruntum near Lok Kawi and about 696 units will be built in Ketiau, near Putatan.
The houses were meant to address the sizable squatter colony living in stilt houses in the area. They were previously reported to be rented out cheaply for a monthly payment of about RM100 per month.