SEBERANG PERAI, March 8 ― Firm enforcement is needed to ensure adherence to laws and regulations governing people’s housing project (PPR) units, said Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.
Responding to questions on issues surrounding the eviction of ineligible tenants from Taman Manggis PPR units, she said the ministry has consistently emphasised the need for enforcement.
“When enforcement action was not taken, then the people will not know that there are laws and guidelines that they must adhere to,” she said in a press conference here after attending a World Women’s Day event.
Enforcement must also be regular, she added, saying the public need to understand that laws were applicable to all.
Zuraida also stressed the need to create awareness, saying some problems were down to those affected not knowing the laws that were in effect.
She said she has spoken with the state local government and housing development committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo on the Taman Manggis eviction issues, during which she expressed support for the state’s action in Taman Manggis.
“I accept his explanation on the procedures and the standard operating procedures regarding PPR units, this has to be enforced,” she said.
She advised the state administration to meet with evicted tenants now camping out at Komtar in protest, and to work towards a compromise.
“The state can look at how to facilitate and help them if they really have nowhere else to go, there is no need for them to be sleeping there,” she said referring to eight families who camped on the ground floor of Komtar since the eviction on Wednesday.
She advised the state to deal directly with the affected tenants and not third parties.
While she acknowledged that the evicted group did not have the law on their side, Zuraida said the state should still be civil.
Separately, she confirmed her ministry is looking at building more PPR units in Penang, namely in Gelugor, Teluk Kumbar and Balik Pulau.
This is to make up for the lack of PPR units built by the previous Barisan Nasional federal government over the last 10 years, she said.
She said the state currently also offered very affordable rent-to-own schemes to the lower income group.
“We can educate the B40 on how to manage their finances, to take up such schemes and own their own homes instead of spending it somewhere else,” she said.
The state housing committee took action to evict 22 tenants from the Taman Manggis PPR flats located in George Town on Wednesday.
The tenants were found to be ineligible due to their income being above the ceiling of RM1,500 per household, owning homes elsewhere, having large sums of rental arrears they refused to pay and having foreign spouses.
Seven tenants had vacated the units, eight refused to move out and their units were consequently locked while seven others are awaiting decisions on their appeals against the eviction.