At a time when the poor could afford to buy a RM25000 house 14 years ago, the BN adminstration in Penang built only 2926 such homes, notes Choo Sing Chye.
Jestering about the return of the free port status in exchange for a Barisan Nasional victory in Penang had made its chief Teng Chang Yeow an undisputed local political clown. I thought this title would be permanently etched in the minds of the people in Penang, but Najib had to butt in and go national.
I genuinely pity Najib; none of his advisors including Teng Chang Yeow had any clue on the Penang housing problem. Promising to build “not less than 20000 units of affordable housing…in Penang,” without knowing the fact that the very same state BN had earlier made a promise under the four Malaysia Plans spanning from 1976 to 1991 to build 39279 houses, but only managed to deliver 5484. And it is even more clownish as this big “promise” comes under the “Promises Fulfilled” banner.
The table below shows low-cost housing units built by the state government under the various Malaysia Plans (Penang Hansard):
3rd Malaysia Plan
4th Malaysia Plan
5th Malaysia Plan
6th Malaysia Plan
|1991- to June 1994
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Najib, buoyed by his BN advisors’ flawed perception, shoots out his mouth with a huge dose of pomposity: “Tt is now open for registration online and these housing units will be priced below the market price; so if the market price is RM500000, it will be sold at RM300000”.
Najib’s advisors should not be in the dark and put their boss in a humiliating position. These highly paid advisors should just leaf through the past records of the BN government; they would immediately know that the state government had another three-year special low-cost housing privatisation programme of its own to build 41080 low-cost housing units.
This programme was launched in 1986 and it was to be completed in 1989. And in it, there were about 40635 eligible applicants registered with the State Housing Department.
Furthermore, this programme was backed by a RM1.4bn special low-cost housing federal fund set up by the federal government to build low-cost homes from which the state government could apply.
Apparently, BN administratio, being an incompetent government as it has always shown to be, managed to build only 2926 units (7 per cent) out of the targeted 41080, thus missing the golden opportunity to provide 41080 low-cost houses for the poor. And shamefully, the 2926 units were built over a period of eight years and not three years as targeted.
Now, the BN clowns have gone on a breast-beating show around Penang but they cannot hide the fact that they have lost the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help the poor.
The BN government sould have fulfilled the targeted 41080 low-cost houses for the poor 14 years ago without much difficulty when the cost of land, labour and material was low.
Furthermore, the majority of the poor in Penang at that time could definitely scrape through by owning a RM25,000 house. But owning a RM300000 house is way beyond their reach.
Najib, do have some humility for the poor; the RM300000 houses are not for them. Tell me Najib, when the poor could afford to buy a RM25000 house 14 years ago, your BN government screwed up big time in fulfilling this pledge and only built 2926 homes.
Now if we give the same opportunity of low labour land and material cost to Lim Guan Eng – he would definitely solve the housing problem hands down.
After the first three and the half years under Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon, the state government and its agencies were only able to build and complete 1797 low-cost homes, broken down as follows:
- 268 units built by the Penang state government
- 133 units by Penang Development Corporation (PDC)
- 690 units by Penang Regional Development Authority (Perda)
- 706 units by Urban Development Authority (Uda).
All the above information is sourced from the Penang Hansard
Choo Sing Chye, a former Perak state assembly member, served as politcal secretary to the late P Patto.