GEORGE TOWN, March 6 — A group of tenants who were evicted from the Taman Manggis people’s housing project (PPR) held a peaceful protest in front of the project before marching to Komtar in anger after their units were sealed today.
The groups, including school children still in their school uniforms, held a peaceful demonstration at about 10am this morning.
The demonstration turned ugly when officers from the state housing department turned up at 10.30am to seal the units of these tenants who were no longer eligible to rent these units.
Some of the tenants tried to stop the officers by blocking the entrances of their respective units.
A total 22 tenants are being evicted today after they were served notice last year as they were no longer eligible to rent the PPR units meant for Malaysians and the hardcore poor.
It is learnt that some have appealed against the eviction, four had already handed in their keys while eight are still refusing to vacate the premises.
The state housing department officers had tried to evict the tenants last week but after their protests, they were given a reprieve till today.
One of the tenants who refused to vacate the unit, Nazrimah Jamal Abidin, said she has eight children aged between four and 24 years old.
She admitted that her husband is a foreigner but insisted that they were allowed to rent the PPR unit for the past 14 years.
The group handed a memorandum to the Penang Chief Minister’s office at around noon after marching there.
In an immediate response, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said PPR units are only rented out for five years to each tenant.
“After five years, we will review the case and hopefully the tenant would have increased their income level and be able to afford somewhere else so they can vacate the units and let others who have been waiting for these units to rent it,” he said in a press conference at his office.
He added that there are over 400 applicants waiting for a PPR unit in Taman Manggis since day one the project was completed 11 years ago.
“Till today, those who were supposed to only rent the units for five years are still there and we had to take action against those who no longer meets the criteria to qualify for a PPR unit,” he said.
He said the PPR units are only for the hardcore poor so those whose income is higher, failed to pay rental for a long time and those with foreign spouses need to vacate.
He stressed that PPR units are strictly for Malaysians so those with foreign spouses are not eligible for a unit.
“We will only listen to the appeals by genuine cases,” he said.
Yesterday, state exco Jagdeep Singh Deo said there is a 1,134 waiting list for PPR units in the state.
He said Penang only has 999 PPR units so it does not have enough units to meet the demand.