Restudy decision to scrap PPR low-cost units for rental, urges Penang CM

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow says PPR units ought to be maintained so that the poor can rent them.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow today urged the federal government to review its decision to scrap construction of new rental apartment schemes for the poor, or the Peoples’ Housing Project (PPR).

He said such social housing, offered for a monthly rental of RM124, was still needed as wage earners could not get loans to purchase homes.

Chow said a letter sent to him last month by Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin stated that PPR units will be discontinued and replaced with “Projek Perumahan Malaysia” (PPM).

He said it was part of the federal government’s initiative to rebrand the government-aided housing scheme.

“The government has called on private developers to build these units under a ‘request for proposal’ and the units would be sold for between RM90,000 and RM300,000.

“The minister sent me this reply when I asked her when more PPR units were going to be built in Penang.

“We feel that these PPR units ought to be maintained so that the poor can rent them. We hope this matter can be restudied,” he said at a press conference in Komtar today.

The PPR are typically sold at RM35,000 in the peninsula and RM42,000 in Sabah and Sarawak. The government spends about RM150,000 to subsidise each unit, it was reported. The units are available for sale or rent to those earning RM3,000 and below.

The housing and local government ministry had said there are 86,547 PPR units throughout the country. In Penang, there are 999 units.

Earlier, at a separate event, state Housing Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the discontinuation of the PPR rental scheme was a “big blow” to the state.

He said the government had pledged to build more PPR flats in the state over the years and the scrapping of this rental scheme was “most disappointing”.

Jagdeep said the RM90,000 starting price for the rebranded PPR scheme, the PPM, was higher than the RM42,000 price set for low-cost homes and RM72,500 price set for low-medium cost flats by the Penang government.

He said under the PPM, the respective state governments must identify land for the project and later call for a “request for proposal” from parties interested to build them.

“If a private developer builds the apartment at a cost of RM150,000, the state government would have to subsidise RM60,000 (for a RM90,000 unit).

“Why should the state government come up with this money when we pay taxes to the federal government?”