'Add-ons' for affordable homes are optional and not a must, says Penang CM

GEORGE TOWN: No house buyer should be forced to pay for additional packages offered by developers of affordable homes, says Chow Kon Yeow.

The Penang Chief Minister said such packages should be optional, not compulsory, as the government has determined the price for affordable housing units.

"The developer has the responsibility to sell the (unit at the government-set) affordable price... to the buyers," he said during a press conference at Komtar on Thursday (Sept 21).

However, some developers "bundled" add-ons such as renovation packages and parking bays, he said.

For example, Chow said, a low- to medium-cost unit may be priced at RM72,000, but the additional packages offered could raise the figure to about RM100,000.

He said all of these packages should be optional and not a condition for qualified applicants in the affordable housing programme.

Penang Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) vice-chairman Ravinder Singh had claimed that some developers refused to sell state government housing programme units at a fixed price.

Ravinder reportedly said the developers called the shots by compelling purchasers to sign up for renovation packages, with further top-up payments charged for higher floors or corner units.

In urging the state government to clearly state unit prices on the offer letters, Ravinder also urged the authorities to ensure that buyers would only have to pay that amount.

Chow said the state government received complaints from buyers from time to time but stressed that any deal should be a win-win for both buyer and seller.

"Packages should be optional. The buyer can opt for them or be allowed to do their own renovations," he added.

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