4 families evicted from Rifle Range to get houses

Some of the residents camping at the lobby of Komtar on June 6.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang state government has agreed to give shelter to four families evicted from their low-cost public flats, following a meeting with activists who pleaded on their behalf.

“Four of the families were offered terrace houses in the Batu Kawan area, with a monthly rental of RM170,” said PSM central committee member R. Karthiges.

He said state housing committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo had met with those who were evicted, as well as activists Prema Devaraj from Aliran, Francis Loh (Aliran), Toh Kin Woon (Penang Bersih) and Henry Loh (Penang Forum).

On Wednesday, Karthiges led a protest at the lobby of Komtar, where some 30 people camped with their pillows and comforters after they were forced to leave their rented Rifle Range low-cost flats owned by the Penang government.

Seven families were evicted from the flats for various reasons, including having rental arrears of up to RM20,000; having a monthly income exceeding RM750; registered tenants who had died; and having spouses who are foreigners.

Many of the tenants are the parents or siblings of those originally given the chance to rent the low-cost flats.

Karthiges said affected residents would be given the keys to their new homes before Hari Raya celebrations next week.

Jagdeep had earlier defended the state government’s action, saying it had gone through each eviction case in great detail.

He had said his officers had gone through 384 appeals by residents, with 288 of them approved.

Evicted residents camp out at Komtar with pillows