Can we look forward to more affordable housing in Penang?
The Penang Chief Minister has announced a Penang Housing Board Bill – “next State Assembly by Housing Exco Wong Hon Wai,” tweeted Kit Siang last night.
This is a welcome development – though most of the choice land, including reclaimed land, has already been snapped up by private developers.
Last year, The Edge had reported Guan Eng as saying that public housing in Malaysia was stigmatised and conjured images of congestion, crime-prone and low quality housing.
He said there was an absence of competent and professional development in Penang as there has never been proper planning.
“Reaping excessive profits, red tape and over-regulation in the public housing mechanism are among our concerns that we want and need to look at,” Lim said at the opening of the Penang Real Estate conference jointly organised by InvestPenang and the Social Economic and Environmental Research Institute (SERI), sponsored by IJM LAND BERHAD.
“There is a need for a housing board to be free of any excesses to ensure that only quality public housing is in place. The state government is looking at the possibility of forming a body to oversee the implementation of quality public housing.
“If you look at public housing in Singapore and Hong Kong, these are quality homes, unlike what we have here in Malaysia when it comes to low-cost housing. We have been studying various models over the past year and we need some time to study this as it has to be within a legal framework,” he said.
Lim said the state legal officer was “looking into this” and though it was still at a conceptual stage, the state government was hoping to speed things up and it will be on a basis on public/private sector partnership and not totally state government initiated.
What does this public-private partnership entail – government subsidies and cheap land for private developers to build affordable housing?
Kit Siang added in his tweet, “Also bldg Penang Exhibition Centre towards Int City status.”
I am not quite sure if this ‘exhibition centre’ refers to the controversial PICC at Pisa or if this is going to be another centre elsewhere.