Extra packages offered for low-cost units strictly optional, says Penang exco

Penang Housing Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo visiting the Warisan Indah housing project in Tanjung Tokong. (Pic courtesy of Jagdeep’s office)

GEORGE TOWN: A Penang executive councillor said many buyers of the state’s low-cost homes have no issues over renovation and car park packages being offered by developers as they consider them to be convenient.

However, State Housing Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said these packages offered by developers are strictly optional.

Those forcing buyers to take them up will face the music, he warned.

Jagdeep was commenting on criticism by the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) yesterday that buyers of low-cost units are still being forced to pay between RM120,000 and RM180,000, with extras thrown in, although the state-mandated prices for such homes are either RM42,000 or RM72,500.

“We have always said that these packages are optional and cannot be forced on anyone.

“If the developers force you to take them up, please complain to us and we will take action,” he said at a press conference today.

Jagdeep also revealed that many buyers did not complain over these packages. He said some also wanted extra parking lots.

“In fact, a lot of these buyers do not complain, because when you buy an empty unit, they still need to renovate. That is why the developers offer these packages that appear attractive to them.

“But all this is strictly optional. If the buyer wants an empty unit, with absolutely nothing, and wants to take his own mattress and one pillow to go and sleep there, then the developer must sell it to them at either RM42,000 or RM72,500,” he said.

CAP had revealed that many developers of low-cost homes were arm-twisting buyers to take up the optional extras or else risk losing the chance to own the property.

It claimed that these buyers succumb to the pressure as they have been on a waiting list for a long time, some up to 20 years.

The “renovation” packages being offered vary, depending on the developer, CAP had said. One company offered just tiling and a washbasin, while others offered painting, door grilles and more.

The buyers claimed they were also persuaded to go for units on the lower floors or the “corner lots”.

The low-cost homes are built by private developers in Penang as part of the state government’s requirement to build 30% low-cost homes, priced between RM42,000 and RM72,500.

Those who want to buy these units have to go to the Penang Housing Department, which in turn vets their applications for eligibility and later allocates homes for the deserving.

Over the past two months, CAP had revealed nearly 20 cases where buyers were forced to pay more than double for their homes. These were for extras such as car parks and renovation packages developers recommended.