GEORGE TOWN: The Housing and Local Government Ministry's move to stop building people's housing project (PPR) in the country has taken the state government by shock.
State Housing, Town, Country Planning and Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow had received a letter from Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, stating that PPR will be rebranded and no longer be built.
"In the letter, it states that it will be replaced with a new policy, where housing for B40 will be built by private developers under Request for Proposal (RFP) and priced between RM90,000 and RM300,000, regulated by the ministry.
"PPR is provided to the B40 group on a rent basis for those who cannot afford to buy the low-cost (LC) housing units.
"PPRs are built by the Federal Government. They usually ask the state government to identify land and then they build the PPR.
"I have even identified plots of land for the federal government to consider building PPR.
"They (federal government reps from Housing Ministry) even visited one of the sites to see its suitability.
Jagdeep said the reason given in the letter was that the federal government could not continue building PPRs, as the cost was too much.
"They said it is because it cost too much to build.
"To build a unit, it will cost RM150,000, not inclusive of the land cost.
"Actual construction cost is RM150,000, but it is a social obligation of any government, as we must look out for those who cannot afford housing.
"I do not agree with the decision made by the minister.
"I consider her (Zuraida) a friend and there is nothing personal, but I plan on asking the Chief Minister if I can give my feedback on the matter as the state housing exco member.
"I believe this needs to be reconsidered, as there are categories of people who cannot afford to have access to even LC housing and wholly depend on PPR.
"The B40 group needs housing.
"The federal government has suggested that if the state government cannot afford to build the PPR, we can use private developers.
"They have suggested we set the price between RM90,000 and RM300,000.
"This is not in line with our usual pricing, which is RM42,000 for LC.
"We will maintain it at RM42,000 but we still need to think of those who cannot afford to buy at all.
"Some people cannot even afford RM42,000.
"Selling it at RM90,000 to RM300,000 is too much," he said.