GEORGE TOWN, Oct 8 — The Penang government need not wait for Putrajaya to initiate the People’s Housing Project (PPR) scheme, the state chapter of Gerakan said today.
The Opposition party’s state chairman Oh Tong Keong claimed the state government is capable of financing the housing scheme as it has been collecting development charges from developers.
“What happened to all these development charges and contributions the state has been collecting from developers for every project? They can use the funds to build PPR,” he said.
Developers have to pay development charges for each project and also make development contributions for drainage, parking, community facilities, infrastructure and low-cost housing for each project they built.
Oh, who is also Gerakan deputy president, said the state government should reveal how much funds it had accumulated from the collection of these development charges and contributions.
He said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) state government had been collecting the contributions since 2008 so it should have a sizeable sum by now.
“So, instead of the state exco Jagdeep Singh Deo asking the federal government to build PPR housing, the state should make use of the developer contributions to build it on their own,” he said.
He said the PH state government was the one to cancel the second phase PPR that was planned for Taman Manggis along Burma Road here.
He said the state government sold off the land which was originally meant for PPR.
He claimed that the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) state government had approved the first and second phase of PPR in Taman Manggis in 2003.
The first phase was completed in 2005 and about 320 families moved in between 2006 and 2007.
“The second phase of Taman Manggis was originally to build 272 units but after DAP took over Penang in 2008, the project was cancelled and the land sold off to a private company to build a hotel and hospital,” he said.
He claimed that a groundbreaking ceremony of the Taman Manggis Hotel and Hospital will be held this Friday.
“Coincidentally, it is on the same date that the DAP sold off the land that was meant for the poor,” he said.
He accused the state government of “selling out the poor” by selling off the land to a private hospital and luxurious hotel.
“The poor could not afford the state’s so-called affordable housing that are not affordable at all, especially for those with no fixed income or payslips to qualify for house loans,” he said.
He said it is compulsory for the government to build PPR for the sake of those who could not afford to buy even low-cost housing.