Penang tells Putrajaya to continue building people’s housing projects for the poor

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said social housing needs to be maintained for the sake of the B40 group as some of them could not even afford to purchase a low medium cost housing unit. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said social housing needs to be maintained for the sake of the B40 group as some of them could not even afford to purchase a low medium cost housing unit. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Sept 6 — The Penang government today called on Putrajaya to reconsider its decision to replace the People’s Housing Project (PPR) with a new programme where each home unit can be bought for between RM90,000 and RM300,000.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said his administration was told by the federal government that the PPR was being rebranded into Program Perumahan Malaysia (PPM) but that it will be different from the current PPR system.

“Under PPM, a request for proposal will be called so that the private sector can send in their proposals and offer to develop their lands for PPM units which will then be sold at prices between RM90,000 and RM300,000,” he said in a press conference in his office here.

He said this means there will no longer be PPR units for rent like in the current system where each unit are rented out at RM100 with a RM24 maintenance fees each month.

“This new programme will severely impact the low income group and even the RM90,000 per unit price is higher than our low medium cost unit price of RM72,500,” he said.

He said social housing needs to be maintained for the sake of the B40 group as some of them could not even afford to purchase a low medium cost housing unit.

“We call on the ministry to review this policy because this means that there will not be any new PPR supplies after this,” he said.

At a separate press conference earlier, local government, housing and town and country planning committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin sent a letter to Chow’s office dated August 20 informing the state of this new policy.

He stressed that the provision of housing to the people, especially those in the B40 group is a social responsibility of the government.

“I may be good friends with Zuraida but I do not agree with this new policy, I will request permission from Chow to respond to her with my views and I am sure the Penang state government will have the same views as me,” he said.

He said there are low income groups who could not even afford to purchase low cost housing units of RM42,000 each and yet under this new policy, the housing units are sold at RM90,000.

“Some of these low income group can’t afford to own homes, so they had to rent PPR units and it is the government’s responsibility to ensure supply of these housing for them,” he said.

Jagdeep said under the new policy, the state must provide land for PPM and then call for a RFP for private developers to build it before selling each unit at between RM90,000 and RM300,000.

“First of all, it costs about RM150,000 to build one unit of low cost housing so if a private developer was to build the PPM and sell it at RM90,000, this means the state will have to subsidise RM60,000 for each unit,” he said.

He said this was unacceptable that the state has to subsidise when the state also pays taxes to the federal government.

“The federal government should be subsidising this, people pay taxes, they collect taxes and some of these taxes should be used for providing housing for the people,” he said.

He said Penang has the least number of PPR units in the country — 999 units — as compared to a total 120,000 PPR units in the whole country.

He echoed Chow’s calls to the federal government to reconsider this new policy and to continue building PPR units for the poor.

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