An informative post about Penang.
State executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo has proposed to the Federal Government to prohibit foreigners and locals from rental of low-cost and low medium-cost housing schemes as well as to enact legislation regarding urban regeneration.
He said he was very happy that Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican was receptive to his proposals when they had a meeting yesterday.
Jagdeep said specific housing needs like hostels should also be provided for foreigners, who reside in low-cost and low medium-cost schemes.
“We have seen many problems arising when the foreigners stay in many of our housing schemes. In fact, 70 percent of the Covid-19 clusters in the state are from factories and the majority of them are from foreigners. It’s very unfortunate, I have nothing against them.
“But we want to take care of them. We have to provide specific housing for them so that the infection will not spread,” Jagdeep told a press conference in Komtar today. It was also carried live via his Facebook page.
Thus far, he said Penang has 11 housing schemes accommodating 70,000 foreigners.
“If we see many foreigners in many of our housing schemes, we should look at our laws to disallow them from staying there.
“At the moment it is a federal law which needs federal intervention whereby an amendment can be made to prohibit rental of low-cost and low medium-cost housing not just to foreigners but also locals.
“This is our desire in Penang. We want to ensure they are owner occupied. I have said this before and he (Reezal Merican) agreed with me,” Jagdeep added.
He said he had suggested to the ministry to look into a new enactment to deal with urban regeneration after learning that some 12 legislations, guidelines and regulations have to be amended during his discussion with Reezal Merican and his officers at the meeting.
“To amend the 12 legislations, guidelines and guidelines that involve for instance National Land
Code will take a long time. We have already suggested that there should be a specific law enacted for urban regeneration and Datuk Seri Reezal has told his officers to study the proposal.
“I think this is amazing. We need to move forward and quickly. It is nothing new; others like Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia have done so. To enact this new law is not only for Penang but for all states,” he added.
Jagdeep thanked Reezal Merican for giving him and his team a warm welcome, describing their meeting as “comfortable” which he said augurs well for a good working relationship between the state and federal governments.
In their discussion, Jagdeep said he has also sought Federal financial assistance for the maintenance of eligible public and private housing schemes. He revealed that the state has received some RM50 million from the Federal Government and that he expected more for the coming year.
He said from 2008 until August 2021, the Penang government has spent a total of nearly RM282 million on the maintenance works of these stratified buildings.
Other than that, Jagdeep said he had also informed Reezal Merican on Penang’s need for more PPR (low-cost) units where so far only 999 units had been built in the state as well as Penang’s target to build 220,000 affordable homes by 2030 in line with the Penang2030 vision.
Also present at the press conference were the Penang Housing Board general manager Ainul Fadhilah Samsudi and Penang State Secretariat office head of local government division Nur Aishah Md Norodin.
Source: Buletin Mutiara
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