Penang mulling rent control of heritage properties

  • Nation
  • Monday, 04 Jul 2016

Snapped up: A row of 11 pre-war shophouses in Noordin Street that were recently sold to Singaporeans.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government is looking at introducing a rent control enactment meant to prevent the inflation of heritage property rentals.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the move would stop gentrification that was driving the locals away from pre-war houses in the core and buffer zone of the island's heritage site.

He said the enactment would be similar to the Rent Control Act 1966, which was repealed in 1997.

The Act had previously set a maximum rental rate, and did not allow house owners to increase it.

"The enactment will be different from the repealed Rent Control Act as house owners can impose rental rates according to the market price, but it should not be an exorbitant increase," he said during a press conference at Komtar Monday.

It was earlier reported that the pre-war property market in the heritage enclave could be overheating with foreign corporations "snapping them up by the rows" and causing rentals to sky-rocket.

The properties could be leased out at more than 500% above the previous rent after some sprucing up.

At the same press conference, Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon said the Penang executive council members had unanimously supported Lim to remain as chief minister.

On Thursday, Lim claimed trial to using his position as a public servant to obtain gratification for himself and his wife Betty Chew by approving an application by Magnificent Emblem to convert two lots of agricultural land in the southwest district for residential purposes during a state planning committee meeting on July 18, 2014.

He also denied another charge of using his position to obtain gratification by purchasing his house from businesswoman Phang Li Koon for RM2.8mil, which was below the property's market value of RM4.27mil on July 28, 2015.

Earlier, Penang DAP, the DAP central executive committee and Pakatan Harapan leaders had said Lim did not have to take leave pending court proceedings.

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