PENANG will continue giving priority to civil servants for affordable housing schemes.
State Housing, Local Government, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the state acknowledged the need to assist civil servants as many of them could not afford to own homes.
“The state set up the Selection Process Enhancement Committee (SPEC) in 2013 to screen applicants for low-cost, low medium-cost and affordable housing.
“Priority is given to civil servants, the disabled, single parents and those who have been evicted due to development projects,” he said after inspecting the new roof of the Penang Island City Council’s public housing scheme in Batu Lanchang on Wednesday.
The new roofing for the flats cost RM246,650.
Jagdeep said SPEC had given priority units to over 4,000 eligible applicants, including 1,845 civil servants, since 2013.
He was commenting on the Federal Government’s decision to do away with the allocation of affordable housing for civil servants.
It was reported that Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin announced the new policy of not setting aside affordable housing for civil servants.
The aim is to have a mix of residents to encourage social interaction between civil servants and the public.
Zuraida said the new policy would take effect immediately.
On another matter, Jagdeep said he hoped both the Penang Island City Council and Seberang Prai Municipal Council would consider the Urban Regeneration Project for its public housing to reduce the burden of maintaining old buildings.
“There are 14 rental housing schemes under the councils.
“Since 2008, the councils have collectively spent over RM21mil to maintain these projects.
“Urban regeneration is a better way to provide quality housing as the state is concerned about the spiraling cost of maintaining old flats.
“Under the project, old buildings will be demolished to make way for larger buildings to be built at the same place to house more units.
“It is difficult to find land here but with the project, there is no need to find a plot as we will be using the same space.
“The tenants will get new larger units with more facilities and more units can be built for civil servants,” he said.
Jagdeep said they hoped to start the project by the end of the year, starting with the Mahsuri flats in Bayan Lepas.
Also present was Batu Lanchang assemblyman Ong Ah Teong.