Unqualified applicants given low-cost homes in Penang


GEORGE TOWN: Adherence to the terms and conditions of application for low-cost housing programmes (PPKR) in Penang was unsatisfactory, according to the Auditor-General’s Annual report 2016 Series 1.

It stated that there were applicants who exceeded the qualification for getting the houses while those who were truly qualified were still waiting for their houses.

The report said that for the period 2014 until 2016, a total of 208 applicants earning more than RM2,500 received the low-cost houses and applicants earning between RM2,501 and RM3,500 recorded the highest approvals with 162 applicants.

“For the same period, there were four cases of applications which were approved involving applicants earning more than RM8,500,” said the audit report tabled in Parliament today.

The report also stated that 490 PPKR applicants and 666 applicants for the Public Housing Project (PPR) had not received any housing unit although they had registered for more than 15 years.

Among the reasons (for the problems) were the weaknesses in the data migration process from the old to the new system.

The audit also found there was no planning for the development of new housing although the various trust accounts for the financing of low-cost public housing projects had a high balance.

According to the report, up to August 2016, the trust account had a balance of RM121.99 million while receipts since 2013 had not been spent.

The report also said that 436 units of PPR were still vacant while a total of 3,747 applications for housing schemes in Penang were still on the waiting list for PPR units.

“The unsatisfactory management of house distribution was due to the failure in offering some of the housing units.

“This resulted in the state government losing rental income. The process of filling up the vacant units was also slow despite the fact that there were applicants on the waiting list,” the report said.

Meanwhile, feedback from the housing division received by the audit department on March 17 this year stated that the division was carrying out data cleaning for the names of duplicating residents on the waiting list for the PPR.

Meanwhile, the report said there were also cases of renters or purchasers who were still occupying the PPKR and PPR houses despite owing up to RM43,748 and maintenance arrears of up to RM6,240, which represented arrears of between 280 months and 312 months.

“The subsequent audit analysis on the hire-purchase arrears on the PPR houses for 2,900 units revealed there was an increase of RM2.85 million from 2013 until October 2016 involving arrears of between one and 186 months,” the report said.

The report stated that according to the Rental Agreement 1999, the hire-purchasers had agreed and allowed the government to seal their housing units for the purpose of getting back the arrears owed if the renters failed to pay the rent for three months consecutively.

“The Audit Department felt that the management of collection and arrears was unsatisfactory and the Housing Division must take more drastic measures to collect the arrears so that the amount of arrears did not continue to rise,” the report said.