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GEORGE TOWN, March 12 ― A clerk who has applied repeatedly without success for a people’s housing project (PPR) unit here has labelled evicted PPR tenants who refuse to move out as “selfish”.
Zira, 31, said PPR units are five-year transit homes for the poor with periodic reviews conducted and those found ineligible should make way for others.
“When they don’t move out due to ineligibility, they are causing hardship to others like me and my family because we also need a place to stay with low rental,” she said when met outside the housing department office in Komtar.
She said those ineligible for PPR units have no right to stake a claim on the public housing when others who are eligible cannot get units.
“I am not saying we are living in the streets or anything but we too are paying high rental each month while some are paying the RM100 per month at PPR when they were ineligible such as those with foreign spouses,” she said.
Zira, who preferred not to provide her full name, has applied for a PPR unit since 2016 and is still waiting for a unit.
She said her mother, Fatimah Mohamed, 67, has also been applying for a PPR unit from as far back 16 years ago without success.
“I have five siblings and all these years we had to live in rented flats with our mother that we could barely afford,” she said.
Fatimah was a school cleaner before she retired at the age of 60 and was estranged from her husband who has two other wives.
Fatimah now slept in the living room of her younger daughter’s two-room PPR unit in Bukit Mertajam.
“My sister is married with two children so they are sleeping in one room, my youngest brother is sleeping in another room and my mother had to sleep on the sofa in the living room,” Zira said.
Zira said this was why she is applying for a PPR unit, so her mother would have a proper place to stay.
“I am married with two children too and we live in a small rented flat which we are paying RM350 each month,” she said.
She spoke to Malay Mail when she was at the housing department to check on the status of her PPR application.
“Now, they are telling me to choose, either to apply for a RM42,000 low-cost housing or a PPR unit so I’ve decided that since I can’t seem to get a PPR unit, I might as well try for the low-cost unit,” she said.
There are a total 1,137 PPR applicants on the waiting list in Penang with 494 waiting for a Taman Manggis unit.
The state administration evicted 22 tenants in Taman Manggis and while some complied, a small group decided to stage a sit-in on the ground floor of Komtar.
The group had camped there from last Wednesday till today, demanding that they be allowed to go back to Taman Manggis.
It is understood that the state government is now under discussions with the group to resolve the issue.