GEORGE TOWN, Sept 4 – The onus is not on state governments to identify land for the federal government’s low-cost housing projects as it is the responsibility of the federal government to do so, says Penang Country, Town Planning and Housing committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo. Jagdeep was responding to Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s call for state governments to help the Housing Ministry by identifying land that could be used for the government’s low-cost housing projects.
Abdul Rahman was reported by a local English daily on Saturday after inspecting restoration work on a monsoon drain in Taman Selasih in Kulim, Kedah, saying that the red tape could be slightly reduced if state governments helped to identify such land. Jagdeep said he wondered if that had meant that Penang would be deprived of low-cost housing and the Projek Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia (PR1MA). “The onus is not on the state governments to identify and provide land to the federal government for the purpose. “When PR1MA was announced in August last year by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, this has never been mentioned as being one of the conditions.
“To my knowledge, there is plenty of federal land in Penang which is yet to be put in good use until people went to quarry the land illegally, such as in Balik Pulau. “This is a serious departure from the federal government’s commitment in providing low-cost and affordable homes to the people which is also a form of human rights — this is akin to depriving people of their human rights,” he told a press conference in Komtar here. He said if there was indeed such a need by the state governments to do so then it should have been told earlier and not only now. “It is like stalling for time to build low-cost houses for the people, especially in Penang,” Jagdeep added.