Penang wants to discuss high loan rejection rate with Bank Negara

State Deputy Speaker Datuk Maktar Shapee (PKR-Sungai Bakap) having a light moment with (seated from left) Lydia Ong Kok Fooi (DAP-Berapit), Speaker Datuk Law Choo Kiang (PKR-Bukit Tambun) and Lau Keng Ee (DAP-Pengkalan Kota) during lunch break at the Penang State Assembly.

STATE Housing Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo (pic) has called for a discussion with Bank Negara following a joint motion by the state government and the state opposition to address the housing issues in Penang.

State Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo. Starpic by: CHIN CHENG YEANG/The Star/18 May 2017

“The housing loan issue is a serious one. We need to take a follow-up action with Bank Negara.

“Penang is the first state to invite Bank Negara to discuss this issue last year,” he said during the oral question-and-answer session at the state assembly yesterday.

Jagdeep (DAP-Datuk Keramat) added that he and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng also had a constructive meeting with Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar.

It was reported in March that Lim and state Opposition Leader Datuk Jahara Hamid had signed the joint motion, urging the Government and Bank Negara to tackle the high loan rejection rate for first-time house buyers.

It also states the need to review the law so that action can be taken against owners who rent out their low-cost and low medium-cost units.

Jahara (BN-Teluk Air Tawar) said the problem involved various parties.

“Bank Negara had issued a directive to the financial sectors to tighten the conditions for borrowers in order to reduce household debts.

“This is their monetary policy,” she said.

Journalists watching a live telecast of the assembly proceedings from outside the main hall.
Journalists watching a live telecast of the assembly proceedings from outside the main hall.

Jahara added that the Federal Government also had schemes where subsidies were given out to help first-time house buyers.

On a separate matter, Jagdeep said that to date, five projects to build foreign workers’ dormitories had been approved.

“These five projects will provide 22,000 beds. In Penang, we have about 250,000 foreign workers. We need more of such dormitories.”

It was reported applications had been made to build foreign workers’ dormitories in Juru, Bukit Minyak, Permatang Tinggi, Kawasan Perindustrian Valdor and Permatang Damar Laut in Batu Maung.

Jagdeep was answering a question by Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Lau Keng Ee of DAP on how to tackle the issue of foreign workers staying in places such as flats.

On the issue of a hotel allegedly operating as a foreign workers’ hostel that was brought up by Datuk Muhammad Farid Saad (BN-Pulau Betong), Jagdeep said the Penang Island City Council had issued a notice to the operator.

“I understand that enforcement action will be taken against the operator after the notice expires,” he said.

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