Penang Gerakan Youth draws flak for 'developers special privileges' comment

Penang Gerakan Youth's plan to erect banners to criticise the state’s efforts to ease affordable housing rules has come under fire, as the state government views the act as “defamatory”.

Penang executive councillor on housing Jagdeep Singh Deo castigated the wing’s leader Jason Loo, for his “unsubstantiated” account, where he alleged that two developers were receiving “double special privileges” at the expense of house buyers, especially the middle-income earners.

When contacted, Jagdeep turned the tables on Loo, asking the latter to pressure Putrajaya instead on its promised 9,999 PR1MA housing project in Penang, which Prime Minister and BN president Najib Abdul Razak announced in Rifle Range before the 2013 national polls.

It was better for Gerakan, he added, to question the federal Housing Ministry on why it is witholding the advertising and development licences of several developers in Penang, which has caused the stalling of affordable housing in the state.

“Where did they (Gerakan Youth) get their information from? Saying we give special privileges to two developers is defamatory,” Jagdeep told Malaysiakini.

“We will work with any developer who is willing to build 100 percent affordable housing, not only two.

“ Since we announced the measures (to ease affordable housing rules), there is a surge of developers wanting to build such projects, and we will assist them,” he added.

“As for saying that we allow these two developers to build 160 units per acre (instead of 87 units), such claims are unsubstantiated," he said.

'Tool for speculators'

He was referring to Loo who said today that the wing vowed to put up banners to question the state government’s measures to loosen affordable housing rules as they are allegedly not beneficial to the people.

Loo asked why these measures allowed specifically two developers to sell 30 percent of their units costing RM25,000 on the open market when they are supposed to offer the units to qualified purchasers first.

Loo also asked why these developers were allegedly allowed to build 160 houses per acre instead of the original 87 units per acre.

Loo, who was BN’s candidate in the 2013 general election, said the state government failed to answer his queries, which he raised about 10 days ago.

“Such policy allows even applicants with Datuk title to buy the so-called affordable homes which are originally catered for the middle-income group,” Loo said at a press conference in Penang today.

To this, Jagdeep said: “So be it as the measures were intended to stimulate the construction of such units as developers could not get projects started if sales target of between 60 percent and 70 percent was not reached.”

Meanwhile, Loo added that these measures to help affordable housing are becoming a “tool” for speculators or investors to generate more money.



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