Give us chance to stay at Penang PPR, applicant tells campers at Komtar

The Penang Housing Department at Level 20, Komtar, George Town.

GEORGE TOWN: A 31-year-old clerk today said she is upset with those reluctant to move out of their People’s Housing Project (PPR) low-cost flats when she and many others have failed to get a unit despite trying for the past three years.

Zira R, 31, said she had made many trips from her home in Butterworth to Komtar to check on her application status, only to be told that there are no units available.

She was commenting on the protest by those evicted from the Taman Manggis PPR for the past week after they were found to be ineligible to rent the units there any more.

The state government said there are 494 applicants for the PPR flat, with some waiting for 11 years.

Zira said she and her mechanic husband are now renting a flat at Pantai Bersih in Butterworth for RM350 a month and are also raising two children, aged four and five.

Zira said her husband does not bring back a fixed income monthly, while her salary of RM1,500 is “just enough” to pay for groceries for her family.

“Those who are doing well should not be in PPR units. Pack up and leave. Give us a chance to stay,” she said when updating her particulars at the state housing department.

She said the state housing department had told her that she was better off buying a 650 sq ft low-cost flat, costing RM42,000. The department told her that with her RM1,500 salary, combined with her husband’s pay, she might not be qualified for the PPR unit.

“I am okay to buy a flat which I can afford. The problem is, whenever I give them my salary details, the property agent will go silent on me.

“Furthermore, my husband’s job does not come with Employees Provident Fund or other contributions. So, getting a loan is difficult,” Zira said.

Zira was accompanied by her mother, Fatimah Mohamed, 67, to the housing department. Fatimah said she had also been applying for a PPR flat for the past 16 years. She retired as a cleaner at a school at the age of 60.

Today, Fatimah lives in the two-room apartment of another daughter, with eight other people. She sleeps in the living room to give space to her daughter, husband and grandchildren.

“My hands have become numb sleeping on the narrow sofa. All I want is some space and I am not comfortable living in a cramped space,” said the diabetic patient who suffers from glaucoma and nerve problems.

Fatimah said the housing department had rejected her application for a PPR unit many times as her husband had purchased a property under his name.

She said she was the second wife of the man, with whom she has long been estranged.

Fatimah hopes to move in with Zira into a PPR unit with three rooms so that she can live in comfort for the rest of her years.

Chiming in, Zira said paying RM124 monthly rent for her PPR home would greatly reduce her burden.

Currently, six families from the Taman Manggis PPR have been camping out at the lobby of Komtar in protest against their eviction.

They were part of the original 22 families evicted after they were found to be no longer eligible to stay on in the PPR units.