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GEORGE TOWN, OCT 7, 2014:

An estimated profit of RM149million is expected to be gained by federal agencies handling the State Federal Action Council’s proposed 9,444 units of “affordable housing” for Penang, claims a State Executive Councillor.

State housing development and town and country planning committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the proposals stated by the council for the 15 projects also included projected profits from each project.

Jagdeep claimed the projected profit for the 15 proposed housing projects by Penang Regional Development Authority (Perda) and JKP Sdn Bhd had come up up to a total RM148.9 million.

“Out of the 9,444 proposed “affordable housing” units, only 2,447 units were low-cost housing while 6,546 were categorised as “medium cost” and the balance of 451 units were commercial units. “Many of the “medium cost” units were priced above the state’s affordable housing ceiling price per unit of RM250,000 for the mainland and RM400,000 for the island,” he told a press conference at his office in Komtar earlier today.

He said some of the “medium cost” units were priced up to RM575,000 each on the mainland and up to RM1.85 million each on the island.

Drawing a comparison between the state’s affordable housing project in Bandar Cassia where housing units are sold between RM168,000 and RM220,000 each, Jagdeep questioned the affordability of the State Federal Action Council’s proposed 9,444 units of affordable housing.

“Perda and JKP should reduce the prices of the proposed projects to cut their profit margin while at the same time making it affordable for the people.

“This is an affordable housing project so the prices should be people-centric and not aimed to reap a profit.

“They should be breaking even only instead of looking at gaining profit from these projects,” added Jagdeed, who is also the Dato Kramat DAP state assemblyman.

“I wish to remind the federal action council that the Penang state government is building affordable housing at a loss as it is part of the government’s responsibility to ensure sufficient affordable housing for the people here.”

Last month, state federal action council chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman who is also Penang Umno chairman claimed that the council had submitted plans to build some 10,000 affordable housing units to the state government since 2011, but the state planning committee failed to approve the plans.

He alleged these projects, both on the island and the mainland, could not proceed as the state had delayed the approvals for the projects.

Responding to this, Jagdeep said he had already written to the council and Zainal asking for further details on the land where the projects were located and had received a reply that most of the plots acquired for the projects were meant for public use.

He said he would be asking for an explanation over the proposed selling price of the affordable housing units that were above the state’s ceiling price for affordable housing.

“Since most of the land acquired for these projects were meant for the public, then we need a full explanation on why the projects are priced higher than what is deemed as affordable housing price of below RM400,000.”

He added those plots should only be used to build low-cost or affordable housing and not commercial or luxurious housing as proposed by Perda and JKP.

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