PENANG will take the lead in the agenda for urban regeneration in Malaysia, says Jagdeep Singh Deo.
The state housing, town and country planning committee chairman said the urban regeneration programme in the state had been in the pipeline for more than five years.“All this while, we have problems with legal issues and I always say to the related ministers that we have to review the existing laws.
“In Penang, we will review the law, either by coming out with new legislation in relation to urban regeneration or amend existing ones.
“I would like to thank the new Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican who agreed with my suggestion last Saturday.
“I believe that housing is a basic human right for all and it cannot be politicised,” he told The Star in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
Jagdeep said the Urban Regeneration Act has to be planned thoroughly to create a holistic and conducive ecosystem.
“Countries like Australia and Singapore have implemented the urban regeneration programme, and I think Penang should take the lead to similarly implement it here,” he said.
The first Urban Regeneration Project (URP) in Penang will be the Mahsuri Flats in Bayan Baru which is expected to kick off early next year.Besides the Mahsuri Flats, the URP will also involve the Rifle Range Flats and Taman Free School Flats on Penang island, and Mak Mandin Flats and Taman Siakap Flats on the mainland.
Jagdeep also thanked the Housing and Local Government Ministry for implementing two new People’s Housing Projects (PPR) in Penang under the 12th Malaysia Plan.
“One of the PPR will be built on the mainland and one will be on the island.
“I am grateful that our application for RM100mil funding for the state’s Housing Maintenance Maximum 80% Fund (TPM80PP) was taken into consideration and the ministry has allocated RM17.5mil for the fund,” he said.
On a separate note, Jagdeep said the state government was in discussions to make it compulsory for those living at low-cost and low medium-cost flats who tested positive for Covid-19 to be sent to quarantine centres.
“Some of the units are small, around 400sq ft to 800sq ft.
“They usually stay with their family members and always have to share common facilities like the toilet and bathroom.
“To contain the spread of Covid-19, we might need to make it compulsory for the patients to undergo their quarantine at designated quarantine centres to ensure the good health and safety of their family members,” he said.