Chief Minister’s Speech
Penang International Property Summit 2016
8 January 2016
I wish to congratulate the organizer of this event, the Penang State Housing Committee for organizing this second installment of the Penang International Property Summit, at the SPICE Arena.
This summit is a testament to our motto of being Competent, Accountable and Transparent (CAT), the axis upon which we have administered our state.
The Penang State Government has continued engaging with all stakeholders in the property sector in Penang, from the developer to the consumer.
Since we took over the reigns of administration in Penang in 2008, I am confident that I am correct when I say that there has been much positive changes in Penang, which has made Penang in turn, one of the most attractive states to live in and invest in, where property is concerned.
As a result of our CAT governance, which abhors corruption and which prioritizes good governance and clean leadership, citizens throughout Malaysia and even outside of Malaysia, want a piece of the pie in Penang.
This however, has led to Penang seeing, in the recent years, a rise in property prices. The Penang State Government is clearly aware of this phenomenon and in order not to become the victims of our success, we have prioritized the provision of public and affordable housing to Penangites in particular.
In this regard, I am certain all those attending this Summit, are aware of the various affordable housing guidelines that exists in Penang, whereby incentives are given to developers who partake in the state government’s affordable housing initiative.
I would like to commend the private sector who have joined our initiative, especially having regard to the complete failure by the Federal Government to provide affordable housing to Penang under the various Federally initiated affordable housing programmes.
I remember PM Najib Razak announcing that 9,999 units of affordable housing would be built in the constituency of Air Itam and Air Putih, my constituency on the eve of GE13. Clearly, that proved to be but an empty promise.
To-date, it is disappointing to note that despite Penangites being the third highest tax payer in the country whereby last year alone, we have paid a sum of RM6.3 billion, only a mere 2% of that amount has been re-channeled back to Penang. In any event unfortunately, not a single cent, for public affordable and housing.
This is why a Summit like this, is very important, because the Penang State Government engages with the private sector in its Public-Private Partnership mode, so as to listen to the private sector as to how we can enhance the delivery system of housing in particular, of affordable housing to Penangites.
We are all ears to your constructive suggestions and inputs, and I am confident to say that the said suggestions and inputs will be taken into consideration by the State Government and may be even implemented as policies and guidelines.
This is evidenced by the first PIP Summit held last year, whereby I am certain you are aware, several suggestions and inputs by the private sector had in fact not only been considered, but have been implemented, as you have been briefed just now by YB Jagdeep.
In the last quarter of 2015, the State Government having cognizance of the economic crunch facing developers, have addressed their difficulties by allowing corporate guarantees to be accepted for payments of contributions, as opposed to bank guarantees which was hitherto the practice.
However, in order to curb any form of abuse towards this guideline, we have imposed several strict conditions, which include, amongst others, the requirement for a joint and several guarantee to be submitted by the directors and shareholders of the respective companies and also for a registrar's caveat to be entered into the lands being developed.
This is an example of how the Penang State Government is sensitive to the difficulties being faced by the developers, and it is hoped that by introducing such new measures, they will be able to continue with their affordable housing initiatives, which in turn, will generate economic growth for Penang.
Touching on this aspect, whereby we are sensitive to the needs from the angle of the developers, the Federal Government must forthwith approve all outstanding Advertising Permit and Developers' License (APDL) by Penang developers. By not so approving them, the Federal Government is economically sabotaging, not only developers from Penang but all Penangites as a whole, as the housing industry, as far as any one particular housing development is concerned, involves some 140 industry players.
In my new year’s address, I dubbed 2016 as the ‘Transformational year”. I note YB Jagdeep’s new year’s address where housing was concerned was dubbed ‘The year of delivery of housing in Penang’.
In this regard, when I mention transformation it refers largely to the RM27 billion Transport Masterplan (TMP) – a five-in-one “big bang” approach towards resolving traffic congestion involving buses, taxis, cable-car, watertaxis/ferries and LRT/monorail. It would also encompass transformation in the housing and property sector, whereby we see a realization, commencing this year onwards, of the various people-centric policies that have been introduced by the Penang State Government prior to this.
Although it has been a challenging 2015, and economic pundits prospect that 2016 will be equally if not, more challenging, I am confident that Penang, with its continued vision of being an international and intelligent city, coupled with governance Competency, Accountability and Transparency, will be able to weather 2016, even where the housing and property sector is concerned.
Based on Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang (MBPP) approvals for construction projects, the Gross Development Value was RM RM3,565,075,900.00 in 2014. For the first half of 2015, the GDV of approved projects was RM1,981,540,000.00 clearly indicating that 2015 will easily exceed 2014. This shown that the construction industry is still recording strong growth in Penang despite prevailing economic downturn in Malaysia.
Penang will continue to be an attractive place to invest in and at the same time, the Penang State Government will continue to prioritise the provision of affordable housing to Penangites, so that we will be able to fulfill our aspiration of “Satu Rumah, Satu Keluarga” for Penangites.