GEORGE TOWN: The heat is going up over the state Bumiputra Housing Trust Fund, which has burgeoned because developers paid the state to release bumiputra reserve units, nicknamed ‘bumi lots’ into the open market.
Developers in Penang have been paying contributions to the trust fund to get a waiver from reserving 30% of the units in each project as bumi lots.
According the latest Auditor-General’s Report (Series II), the fund grew to RM110.93mil last year, up by RM15.31mil from 2015, and groups including Penang Umno wondered if the bumiputra housing quota in Penang was falling short.
But Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has defended the state’s efforts.
He said yesterday the Bumiputra Housing Trust Fund was put to good use.
He said RM59.8mil of the fund was used to buy 320 units of low medium-cost units in Jalan S.P. Chelliah (RM44mil), low-cost housing projects in Kampung Permatang Tok Subuh in Bukit Mertajam (RM7.9mil) and Kampung Kepala Gajah in Sungai Bakap (RM7.9mil).
Lim said in a press conference at the Penang Development Corporation office that the state government was looking at other projects to invest the balance of RM40.2mil.
“Thus, it is not true that the state is not interested in preparing homes for bumiputras,” he said.
On Monday, Penang Umno chief Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin said in a statement that the state did not seem interested in observing the Bumiputera Lot Quota Regulation created under the New Economic Policy since 1971.
Under the regulation, developers are allowed to pay the state and be exempted from reserving 30% of the units in their projects for bumiputras when certain conditions are met.
The state is then to use the payments to build housing for bumiputras.
State Housing Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo, who was at the press conference, said the state had built 24,227 affordable housing units since 2008 to the present.