Anyone caught cheating the Penang government by renting out their low-cost (LC) and low medium-cost (LMC) flats awarded by the state will be brought to court, and this could lead to a jail term with whipping.
State Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said he found out that many flat owners were renting out their state-awarded units to others, especially foreign workers.
“One of the conditions when applying for an LC or LMC unit is that the applicants must stay there and they cannot rent out.
“Renting such units to foreign workers has caused many social problems,” he told a press conference in Komtar yesterday.
Jagdeep Singh said the state housing department had received many complaints about the influx of such workers at the LC and LMC flat blocks.
“When these unit owners fail to comply with the conditions, they are committing a breach of trust,” he said.
“They can be charged criminally under Section 420 of the Penal Code with cheating which carries a jail term of up to 10 years with whipping, and a possible fine.
“The draft of notice is ready and I will be presenting it to the state executive council during a meeting this Friday.
“I will also seek the views of the state legal adviser,” he added.
He said that after the notice is issued, the owners would be given a month to sort out the matter before action is taken.
On the number of units being rented out, he said he could not provide the data at the moment but a check in one flat block showed there were 226 units rented to others.
However, he acknowledged that forcing foreign workers to move out would create another problem such as having to find alternative accomodation for them.
“In the past two state assembly sittings, I’ve brought up the suggestion to follow Singapore’s example.
“There, foreign workers stay in a conducive environment with proper facilities.
“We should start looking in that direction and come out with a mechanism,” he said. - By Oh Chin Eng (The Star)