GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government will submit an application to Putrajaya to elevate the Seberang Perai local government from a municipality to a city council, in tandem with the growth experienced on the mainland over the years.
State local government committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the Penang government had applied for the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) to be upgraded last year, but the application was denied.
He said the federal government at the time had cited a ruling that a state could only have one city council in refusing MPSP’s application.
The Penang Island Municipal Council was elevated to a city council in 2015.
Jagdeep said in a recent meeting with Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, he was told that a state could have more than one city and that Penang’s application was welcomed.
“When we asked if there was a one city for one state allocation, the minister told us there was no such thing,” he said.
“Earlier, our argument with the federal government was why Penang could not have more than one city council if Selangor and Sarawak did.
“We are elated to hear that we can apply, and we will begin the formal process to apply for city status for Seberang Perai,” he said in a press conference at Komtar here today.
At 738 sq km, MPSP is currently one of the largest municipalities in the country.
Jagdeep also announced that two plots of land in Jelutong measuring some four acres each are being considered for the building of Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR), a federal government initiative which rents out homes for cheap to poor people.
He said this was the first time in many years that Penang had been selected for a PPR project.
Of the 120,000 PPR units in the country, he said, only 929 were built in Penang, making it the smallest recipient of the federal housing project to date.
He also voiced hope that the federal government would look into approving funds for a building maintenance programme for Penang.
To date, he said, there were 126 outstanding applications under the TP1M fund worth RM66.4 million which had yet to be approved.
He said the Penang Island City Council had applied for RM37.7 million for 55 projects while MPSP had applied for RM37.7 million for 71 projects.