JOHOR BARU, Jan 27 — Tebrau MP Jimmy Puah Wee Tse today accused Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor of being closed minded and stoking racial politics instead of thinking of how to improve affordable housing in Malaysia.
Defending Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming’s plan to invite experts from other countries, including Singapore, to improve Malaysia’s existing housing policies, Pua said Muhammad Sanusi’s racially-tinged criticism was totally unwarranted.
“Let us look at the issue with an open mind. What is good can be better, so why settle for fine when we can be the best,” he said in a statement.
Puah, who is also Johor PKR vice-chairman, said there is no denying that Singapore’s Housing Development Board (HDB) is one of the most successful housing policies in the world.
He explained that Singapore’s HDB units not only provide quality and affordable housing for its citizens, but its subsequent maintenance is also good.
“So, what is wrong in wanting to learn from their success story? Only those with a siege mentality will resist this opportunity,” Puah added.
He was commenting on a video circulated on social media, featuring Muhammad Sanusi accusing Nga and his ministry of having a racial agenda during a recent rally in Sik, Kedah.
The Kedah Perikatan Nasional (PN) chief claimed that there is a hidden plan to revive the local government elections by emulating Singapore’s HDB.
Dismissing the claims, Puah said Muhammad Sanusi may not realise that affordable housing is among one of the most pressing issues for young Malaysians.
“It is getting increasingly difficult and frustrating for Malaysians to acquire a home, especially in major cities.
“Needless to say, housing costs increase every year and the government is on the right path in trying to find a workable solution,” said the former state executive committee chairman during the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration in 2018.
Puah hopes that those who are critical of government policies will approach it with an unbiased outlook.
He said such matters should be debated on merit as well as needs of society and not on personal political interest, which will not benefit the millions of Malaysians desperately hoping for a home.
“As a Member of Parliament for a constituency of more than 223,000 voters and 500,000 constituents, it is more than welcome if the government can build more affordable homes in Tebrau.
“If that means we need to get expert opinions from our Singapore counterparts, so be it,” Puah said.
He is confident that those who are awaiting affordable homes would not mind a bit.
Last week, several PN leaders claimed that Nga is trying to undermine Malay property ownership and demographic spread through housing policies.
This is after Nga revealed that his ministry would be meeting with contractors from Singapore’s HDB in order to learn about the island republic’s successful public housing programme.