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Gerakan takes Penang to task for flip-flopping on housing policy

Published:  |  Modified:

Penang Gerakan has taken the state government to task for flip-flopping on its housing policy in the past 10 years.

Its liaison committee chairperson Oh Tong Keong (above) said previously the state announced that affordable housing cannot be sold to voters from other states.

"But now, it is announced that affordable housing will be sold to non-Penangites.

"Until today, the Penang government is clueless in terms of housing policy and what the people of Penang truly desire," he said in a statement.

Oh was commenting on the announcement by state exco Jagdeep Singh Deo that non-Penangites can now purchase 20 percent of the 40 percent affordable homes in the open market. 

Jagdeep made the announcement as part of the state's measures to overcome the issue of overhanging in the property sector and to spur the market, which has seen many units unsold.

However, the new measures have been criticised by PSM central committee member Choo Chon Kai as it appears to benefit developers rather than people who need homes. 

Oh said it is not true that Penangites are unwilling to buy affordable homes, causing many units to remain unsold.

"The main reason is due to the astronomical price of these units, making them out of reach for many.

"Affordable housing ranging from RM300,000 to RM400,000 is only affordable to a selected few," he added.

Oh said the state should be building more homes priced at RM72,000 (middle low-cost homes) or RM150,000 to RM200,000 (affordable homes).

"Build such homes instead of the ones costing between RM300,000 to RM400,000 if they (state) are sincere in assisting the poor in buying homes."

Meanwhile, Oh said allowing non-Penangites to buy affordable housing is akin to permitting people from other states to invest in the property market.

"This causes inflation in the housing price and increases the impossibility of owning a home among Penangites."

Oh's other ground for objecting to the Penang government's policy of allowing other state citizens to buy affordable houses in Penang was the injustice of outsiders benefitting from state subsidies that essentially is paid by Penang taxpayers.

"This is because these housing projects receive state subsidy and the subsidy itself comes from Penang taxpayers' money. The government should announce immediately the reduction of affordable housing price to RM200,000 and below.

"That way, we believe Penang will not be facing a problem of unsold affordable housing units, and the dream of homeownership of the people can be realised," he said.

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