Taman Tun Dr Awang on mainland Penang faces Straits Quay across the channel on Penang Island – and they are just as far apart in terms of quality of life.
Do we need any further evidence of the widening income inequality in Malaysian society?
The Taman Tun Dr Awang blocks lie about 6km north of the Butterworth ferry terminal, along the coastline near Pantai Bersih, just opposite Dewan Panorama, facing the sea-front. Last Sunday, at this hall, they were distributing the RM500 to some of the low-income households from surrounding areas. The handouts were done under the auspices of the BN MP for Tasik Gelugor Nor Mohamed Yakcop, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of the Economic Planning Unit. At least that’s what the banner at the back-drop of the stage proclaimed.
Local residents are so accustomed to the poor condition of these flats they don’t even give it a second glance as they stroll or drive past. But a couple of overseas visitors who passed by that area and felt sorry for the residents told me, “Please ask your government to do something about this.”
It is so easy to dish out money, but show us what you can do to really improve the living conditions of the low-income group.
I raised this issue at a workshop on housing in Penang attended by among others, the relevant state government officials, a couple of months ago. Can the state government do anything about it? How about sprucing up this area as part of the Cleaner, Greener Penang initiative?
The BN government cannot escape responsibility. Correct me if I am wrong, but this Taman comes under the Tasik Gelugor parliamentary constituency and the Teluk Air Tawar state seat, both held by the BN. These flats were built in the 1970s and this problem did not happen overnight. And the condition of these flats, at least the exterior, is getting worse.
Surely it won’t cost much to paint and spruce up the area. (There is also a litter problem in this area, MPSP.) What is the point of FDI, GDP, ETP and what-not, when ordinary people on the ground have to live in such conditions?
Won’t the politicians – at least those who could have done something about it but didn’t – feel ashamed when they go around this area canvassing for votes in the coming general election? Malu-lah. Phaiseh-lah. Where to hide face?