BN, Pakatan, won’t you improve Taman Tun Dr Awang flats?


I have lost count of the number of visitors to Penang who have told me, “Please ask your government to do something about these flats” in Butterworth.

These must be about 10 blocks of flats here on the mainland, facing Straits Quay on the island. They don’t look like they have had a fresh coat of paint ever since they were built more than 30 years ago. Rubbish disposal is a serious problem, with steel bins either missing or with gaping holes in them.

What a sharp contrast to Straits Quay and Sri Tanjung Pinang across the channel on the island, reflecting the divide between the rich and the lower-income group.

I enquired with an MPSP councillor and he told me that these flats come under ‘Perumahan’ under the federal Housing and Local Government Ministry (actually, it comes under the the Housing Division of the State Secretary). Apparently, he added, they are responsible for the collection of a small monthly maintenance fee of about RM20 from each resident, but it is not clear if these fees have been collected and if so, what they have being used for.

Correct me if I am wrong, this area also comes under the BN constituency of Teluk Air Tawar within the Tasik Gelugor parliamentary constituency, both held by the BN. (Teluk Air Tawar is held by Umno’s Jahara Hamid, who was recently chosen as the Penang State Assembly opposition leader, the first female to hold that position in a state assembly in Malaysia.)

Before the general election both the federal and Penang state governments raced to come up with their own plans to upgrade flats such as these. The federal government was supposed to finance the upgrading of such flats while the Penang state government’s Happy! scheme was supposed to cover any shortfall.

Even if the federal government is responsible for upgrading, no one is going to complain if the state government/MPSP steps in to give this place a much-needed facelift. If anything, it would gain the state/local government a lot of brownie points among the residents.

The rubbish collection problem clearly falls under the jurisdiction of the MPSP.

But I don’t see anyone – BN or Pakatan – scrambling to improve these flats. By right, they should be falling over each other in  a race to spruce up the place. Instead both sides seem more inclined towards mega or ‘iconic’ projects.

As you can see from the last couple of photos, this strip of coastline has the potential to be transformed into a picturesque sea-front community if there is the political will.

So let me throw a challenge: Let’s see which side – BN federal government or Pakatan state/local government – is more serious about the people’s welfare and will transform the lives of this community by getting the job done.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
eng hock

Comparing Straits Quay resdents with Tun Dr Awang flat dwellers :
a) income level (40% household Msians earning RM3K a month vs the more priviledged folks)
b) education level (IQ)
c) mentality level (EQ)
and we can trace back to many instituted policies that have failed to raise the quality of life of general folks; and various issues raised by trigger many discussions yet implementation for long term solution appear futile.

so anil continues to create awareness, then anger & denial syndrome, followed by acceptance that require holistic approaches which our YBs need to tackle without fear or favour……


YBs need to go to the rural areas, ghettos, “boh-bin-chooi” neighbourhood to empathise with the underprivileged before (comparing with richie folks good behavioural antics) & blaming squarely on IQ, upbringing, tidak apa mentality or lack of civic-consciousness or education. Stay for one month in Taman Tun Dr Awang to feel & absorb the negative vibes of daily frustration & environment neglects (by authorities). Only then the stench of rubbish of ghetto life will clear the YB’s mind of rotten cosmopolitan thinking & blaming that leads towards ‘excusable’ perennial inaction. Anil, I still see Coast-Mud-Politan off richie folks’ Gurney Drive without… Read more »

YB Low

Let’s hear the other side of the story: 1. The resident’s there simply refuses to pay the maintenance fees. You cannot compare with Straits Quay as the residents are paying their maintenance fees. If you don;t pay your maintenance fees, who is going to maintain it for you? MPPP only maintains the surroundings. 2. Try staying there yourself. Rubbish are thrown everywhere, even from the top of the flats. The minute after you clear the place, rubbish just appears again. Laundry with water dripping everywhere contributing to the growth of algae on the walls. 3. Foodstuff strewn everywhere to attract… Read more »


You can give them any house, bungalow, etc. But if they don’t have the $ or the responsibility to maintain it, what is the point? And what is the point of poor people paying RM50K for a low cost flat if the property will never appreciate (or depreciate) due to it being run down. I am still scratching my head for a really good solution. Maybe its like what I said earlier, owning these low cost flats must come with a set of conditions – forming an RA, take part in gotong royong to clean and maintain, set aside a… Read more »


Hi Anil, comparing with HDB flats in Singapore is not apple to apple. HDB flats are open to almost everybody (with conditions). The Singapore govt. finance and build those HDB flats which I tell you is almost the same standard as our mid range condos (almost like an affordable housing rather than a low cost flat). The govt also assigns responsibility to each owner regarding the care of their units.

And they have already allocated funds for maintenance.
These are definitely best practices we can emulate.


If you lived in Malaysia long enough you would know that we never follow best practices. We follow Malaysian practices, which includes blaming god for everything under the sun. If these low cost flats are not up to standard as u have rightly pointed out, then they should be made to be of that standard which I consider the minimum standard for reasonably comfortable living. The flats are not going to upgrade themselves. Also, stop building such flats and instead use higher standards for the new affordable housing built. Isn’t it a simple solution? All we need is money and… Read more »


Singapore HDB has a long history, starting from the nation’s independence. It started with really low cost housing, but as the nation progress, it is now building Malaysian-condo-like housing for its residents with proper maintenance by the town councils and residents committee. In short, there is a culture of continuos improvement to elvate the standard of living. However, the BN government not only failed to follow best practices from its neighbour, but has created lots of ‘urban slums’ in the process as seen on those ‘untidy’ low cost flats. The people lack civic-mindedness thus making the situation worse. They could… Read more »


Anil, if you look at the photos, you can see that a number of them can afford Astro. They have gotten their priorities mixed up.


Collect more monthly maintenance fee from each resident to defray the cost of maintenance!

We are not living in a welfare society!


Ha Ha. BR1M is just a political tool to milk publicity for BN and to fish votes, any help to the poor is secondary.


To expect PR to come and help out a federal housing project in a BN strong hold, I think PR has better things to look at. BN while having lots of fund at their disposal, BN chosed to look elsewhere. The people voted for BN in the last GE because they believe in BN so this is certainly not a PR’s problem, we have to be realistic here. It will take time, but PR with its limited funding will wait for BN to come in before chipping in the balance..


You are deeply mistaken. LGE has said that he is the CM of all Penangites, regardless of their religion, race or political leanings. I am glad that our CM is mature enough to look beyond these things. Those areas are still part of Penang whether we like it or not. We cannot punish people for voting for a certain party. Just like we feel angry when the federal govt refuses to give Pg it’s fair share of funds for development simply because penangites voted PR as their state govt. Or when Kelantan is denied oil royalty because they have a… Read more »


Anil, write a complain to MPSP with copies to the state exco for housing and local government, ADUN, MP and the PR government newly appointed coordinator. Followup for reply and action. Then post their response here. Don’t just challenge them here as not everyone reads your blog.


One common thing about Politician they are Trader.They trade their words for support whenever election comes.

rajraman.After election the commodity they sell call “lies” especially towards the poor voters.The DEMI GOD guys also no difference.There are more glory to mingled with rich and famous.

Ahmad Sobri

But, er.,,I think the Elections are over. BN and PR, they are just the same. Who cares about the poor? The rich are the ones that are to be satisfied. Pakatan Rakyat should come out with an assesment of the actual cost to repair these flats which is a shame to the Penang State Government. What is there to shout when its citizens are living in such deplorable situations? Shameful is it not? BN is definitely not going to help these folks with their poor service records, I think, PR with their good relationships with developers should look into the… Read more »


I am at 2 minds about this. I am for helping the poor – yes, but only to help them to be independent. Low cost housing (this is different from affordable housing for the middle income) is supposed to help them to put a roof over their head while they work on improving their lives and moving on to better things – like moving into the middle income. I think to alleviate this issue, low cost flats must have better management and responsibility from the dwellers. Encourage “gotong royong” to clean up the place, repair the place, etc. I also… Read more »


Absolutely right. It is far more important to ensure that the poor of our society do not have to suffer. It does not cost much to repaint these low rise flats considering the state govt has hundreds of millions of surplus and the federal govt is spending spending billions on BRIM and 4 billion on an airport that does not seem to ever get done. Instead of leaving hundreds of millions left in the bank doing nothing, it would do a lot more good raising the quality of lives of the poor. I am not just talking about a paint… Read more »


I don’t know, I have seen worst in KL.. But you are right, it has potential to be a showcase for championing a cause. But any political party has to make their calculation where their limited ringgit translate best into highest marginal return of not just votes but actual seats. If the area is an UMNO stronghold, even for Penang the few millions needed, not exactly well spent politically for PR – not when its Federal Govt that should be paying right now especially if it involves costly temporary moving the residents maybe even demolishing it entirely..


DAP prefers building underground tunnels and mega-highways. Is this a case of the DAP morphing into a BN-like party that goes for big contracts only (without any feasibility studies to boot!) while neglecting small ones and poor people? To what end? And for whose benefit? DAP is so property developer friendly these days, it would better rename the party to DAPP – Developer Action Party of Penang.


It’s high time now for the likes of IJM, SP Setia, Mah Sing & Ivory Properties to do their REAL Corporate Social Responsibilities to improve the situations …. what say you ???


Why don’t you do your own Social Responsibility instead of pushing to others? Go there and donate some rubbish bins, comduct cleanliness classes, etc…
Please don’s push to others!


Profit maximisation is the sole aim of these developers. Any CSR is just their gimmick for their publicity. Afterall, there is no price or award for CSR.


“Profit maximisation is the sole aim of these developers. Any CSR is just their gimmick for their publicity. Afterall, there is no price or award for CSR.”

If that is the case for recalcitrants reaping billions of profit, who will clean up the muddy mess off Gurney Drive? Coast-Mud-Politan Penang is not what we Penangites ask for, unless we have a stupid mind that thinks: “You Ask For It”.

Then, all other forms of economic development like factories in FTZ don’t have to do anything about polluted rivers!

Cheers Kopi-O kau kau with mercury & pollutants added for no brainers.