NIBONG TEBAL: The Penang government plans to introduce a law that would prohibit owners of low-cost houses from renting out their units to foreign workers.
State housing and environment committee chairman S Sundarajoo said such rental practices defeat the state government’s purpose of providing affordable housing.
The executive councillor also said such rental practice would turn low-cost flats into “migrant workers’ villages”, which would make the local residents uncomfortable, raising safety concerns among residents with young children.
Sundarajoo said the Penang Housing Board (LPNPP) and local councils were working on the bill, which he will then present to the state executive committee.
The entire process would take about two months, he said.
“It won’t take too long because I think we should not allow people to rent out (the low-cost units), especially to foreigners, because it defeats the whole purpose.
“We (the state government) are subsidising every unit and giving these Malaysians the units, but they are renting them to foreigners.
“It is not fair to the rest of the residents who live there. We want to curb this rental practice in the long run,” he told FMT after attending an event to hand over offer letters to affordable housing applicants at the Mutiara Indah flats in Simpang Ampat here.
He said under the law, the state could opt to take drastic measures, such as taking back the housing units from the owners and giving them to other deserving Penangites.
Sundarajoo also said the state government was working on creating a centralised labour quarters for foreign workers so that they do not end up living in low-cost housing units.
Last year, Sundarajoo’s predecessor, Jagdeep Singh Deo, had also called on Putrajaya to introduce laws that would prohibit owners of low-medium-cost housing units from renting them out to foreigners.
On a separate matter, Sundarajoo also called on low-cost housing applicants who have been forced by developers to pay additional costs for furnishing packages to lodge complaints with him and the housing board.
He said that he had come across claims by housing applicants on social media that developers had told them the units priced at RM42,000 were actually priced up to RM200,000 and had told them to pay more.
“I want to blacklist these developers so that they cannot carry on their business in the state any more,” he said in his speech during the event.
However, he said the state would not take any action should the buyers choose to take up these additional furnishing packages from the developers.
“But the developers do not have the right to force buyers to take up these furnishing packages. If there are (such instances), please report them to us,” he added.