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Thursday, May 18, 2017

'Affordable housing critics don't represent Penangites'



Penang state executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo hit out at critics who slammed the state for not providing affordable housing, calling them “unelected people who do not represent Penangites”.
“They are not even in government or the state assembly, why not ask Umno, who did not say anything about this? At least they are the opposition party in Penang,” Jagdeep said at a press conference today.
“Who is this party (which asked about affordable housing)? They should not simply make statements, I am very angry, and you all (media) should not simply report their remarks,” he added.
Jagdeep was responding to opposition parties like Gerakan and NGOs, who had said that instead of leasing a plot of prime land on Peel Avenue to Island Hospital for a mega-expansion project, more affordable housing could have been built.
Gerakan does not hold any seats in the Penang state legislative assembly, but Umno holds ten, making them the state opposition for two consecutive terms, which began respectively in 2008 and 2013.
Affordable housing projects
Jagdeep announced that the state had added three more projects this year to 14 ongoing public affordable housing projects that have been in the pipeline since 2008, bringing the total number of expected units to be delivered to 27,230.
He added that the Penang government has also approved 36,759 units of various types of affordable housing, which will be built by the private sector.
“I challenge the critics to state whether the federal government has done more for Penang (for affordable housing) after we took over office in 2008,” Jagdeep said.
“The federal government has completely failed to deliver even one physical unit of affordable housing under the 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme (PR1MA),” he added.
Jagdeep criticised the federal government for marginalising Penang, providing the state with the least amount of public housing for the poor in the country, based on data from the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry.
The figure of 999 units includes 301 units which have not been built yet in Permatang Tok Subuh (231 units) and Mak Mandin (70 units), which are supposed to be completed in August and December, respectively.
“Surely, BN must answer to the people of Penang as to their complete disastrous failure for providing affordable housing for Penangites,” said Jagdeep.
And if this is not enough, Jagdeep said the federal government must “atone” for their failure to resolve the issue of high bank loan rejection rates, which makes it impossible for many Penangites to own homes.

The Penang government and opposition have decided to send a joint motion to the federal government, urging it to address the issue.
But Jagdeep said despite writing to Prime Minister Najib Razak on March 3 for a meeting to be convened on the matter, no date has been fixed.
“I challenge Umno-BN in Penang to deliver more affordable housing for Penangites, as they have failed to do so for far too long”.- Mkini

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