The Penang government will not increase the price of low-cost housing which is presently set at RM42,000 and RM72,500 for low-cost (LC) and low medium-cost (LMC) respectively.
State Housing Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said while the cost of building materials had increased drastically, the state would not raise the ceiling price as any increase would be beyond the reach of the poor.
He said all the state governments were told to raise the price to RM65,000 and RM100,000 for LC and LMC respectively during a meeting of the National Housing Council.
“We reiterated our stand that Penang would not increase the price although the land is scarce.
“Finally, they decided that individual states could decide on the price themselves,” he told Lim Siew Khim (DAP- Sungai Pinang) in his oral reply at the state legislative assembly sitting yesterday.
Lim had earlier asked whether the state would raise the ceiling price for low-cost housing in view of the hike in building material prices.
Jagdeep said they did not wish to burden the poor in Penang further as presently, there is a high bank loan rejection rate.
“A lot of housebuyers had their bank loan applications rejected, especially the bumiputras, who need the houses the most,” he said.
He added that it was wrong for the state opposition members to label the state government as ‘Developer Action Party’ as they had been compelling every developer to build LC and LMC houses besides luxury housing units.
On the increase of building material cost, he said it was due to the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST).
At this point, Datuk Shah Headan Ayoob Hussain (BN-Teluk Bahang) stood up and objected.
“Why can’t the state do a costing on each of the LC and LMC unit being built?
“Only then we could get a clearer picture on the cost rather than blaming it on GST,” he said.
Jagdeep said the cost of building materials had increased triple-fold with GST, and urged Shah Headan to compel the Federal Government to abolish the tax on building materials for LC and LMC.
To this, Shah Headan said: “Well, we can’t blame everything on GST. Even the Chief Minister himself had said that GST would be maintained even if Pakatan Harapan comes to power”.
State assembly Speaker Datuk Law Choo Kiang then urged both assemblymen to refrain from debating the issue and stick to the question and answers. - The Star