SPEECH BY THE HONORABLE CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG, MAPEX 2015 AT G HOTEL ON 21ST FEBRUARY 2015, SATURDAY, 11AM
Thank you to REHDA Penang and Henry Butcher Penang, the organizers of Malaysia Property Exhibition (MAPEX) for once again inviting me to deliver a New Year message in conjunction with their event starting from today until this Tuesday.
The theme “A New Year, A New Home” is in line with the State Government’s efforts to ensure that genuine qualified first time buyers are able to own a home under our new housing rule which took effect from 1 February 2014. This ruling is intended to protect existing and emerging affordable housing stocks, curb speculation and assist the low-income group to have a roof over their heads.
According to the Malaysian House Price Index, Penang house price index has risen from 116.6 in the third quarter of 2003 to 218.2 by the third quarter of 2013. Penang has seen the rise in property prices which has doubled since 2003. House prices increased 8.6% annually while the average household income increased by 5.4%. This means, house prices increased faster than income which leave an affordability gap.
The State Government places great emphasis to help the low income group to own a home. The cost of living has risen and the impact of the GST implementation on 1 April this year on goods and services has already been felt by consumers since its announcement in 2013. That is the reason the state government has set up a RM 500 million affordable and Public Housing Fund to build 22,545 public and affordable housing units in all 5 districts of Penang.
We hope that the new integrated transportation system from now until 2030 under the RM 27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan will further boost the tourism industry in Penang. The plan includes components such as improved highway network, light rail transit (LRT), bus rapid transit (BRT), trams and new ferry services. An Electric Train Service (ETS) linking Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth will be operational in July 2015. A total of 10 new coach sets will be running in stages by January 2016. With this, we believe that the improved transportation system will provide further support to the overall property development in the region.
I am proud to say that all the efforts made by various organisations and the Penang people have seen the transformation of Penang into a vibrant city full of activities and festivals ranging from arts and culture to international entertainment and exhibitions. We are looking forward to the 1st phase completion of the RM 300 million Sub-terranean Penang International Conference and Exhibition Centre (SPICE) project in 2017 which will double the present capacity at the present PISA site. This will allow Penang to attract MICE segment of the tourism market, create business and employment opportunities that will spur the demand for the property market.
I want to congratulate REHDA and Henry Butcher Penang for successfully organizing this event and for their continuous generous support to the community, this time by contributing RM 20, 000 donations to charity.