It is indeed a great pleasure to be here for REHDA’s 45th Annual Dinner and I wish to thank Dato’ Toh Chin Leong for the invitation. I am very pleased to be able to join the committee, members and associates of REHDA Penang. Over the past 45 years, REHDA Penang has been the voice of developers in Penang and has played a significant role in bringing about development for the people of Penang in terms of creating new townships, employment and business opportunities.

The state government, on our part, has always been working with REHDA Penang to resolve challenges faced by the industry. Your active engagement with the state government, state agencies and the local authorities have brought about positive outcomes for both the state government and the housing and property development industry.

Last year, the Penang state government launched an inclusive and holistic action plan for Penang with the theme “Penang2030: A Family Focused Green and Smart State That Inspires the Nation”. It is a people-centric action plan with a focus on improving liveability, the economy, civil participation and a balanced development to achieve a "family-focused, green and smart state". The Penang state government has drawn up 16 strategic initiatives to attract investors and stakeholders to invest in the state in line with the Penang2030 vision. These strategic initiatives would drive the state’s economic growth in a positive direction, apart from enhancing competitiveness and the people’s quality of life. In addition, the initiatives would also provide an opportunity for the public to participate in any government development plans in the state.

Effective partnerships and the continuous engagement with the stakeholders in the relevant fields are important to address existing concerns like inadequate supply of affordable housing which may prevent Penang2030 from becoming a reality. In this regard, support by the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (REHDA) is crucial in bringing about considerable development in the housing and property development industry in Penang. It is, therefore, pertinent that REHDA and the State Government engage each other to arrive at mutually beneficial solutions, particularly in addressing the housing affordability issue, as we now strive for betterment of life through sustainable property development.

REHDA has consistently implored the State Government to reduce contributions and charges particularly over imposed contributions for non-provision of low cost, low medium cost and affordable housing. There are some states that have raised the ceiling prices for low-cost homes to RM60,000 and low medium-cost homes to RM100,000 but the Penang state government would maintain its low-cost homes at RM42,000, low medium-cost homes at RM72,500 and affordable homes at RM300,000 on the island and RM250,000 for the mainland.

The Penang state government has also written to the Housing and Local Government Ministry to review its decision to stop building the People’s Housing Project (PPR), as there are still many in the B40 category that cannot even afford a low-cost housing unit. Penang has been seeking the Federal Government’s assistance in building PPR projects in the five districts of the state, starting with a site in Jelutong on Penang island. The Penang state government is ready to assist and we have already identified suitable sites for PPR projects.

I wish to assure REHDA that the Penang state government is a business-friendly government that listens to all. We believe in advocating a better quality of life for the people of Penang and the State Government appreciates the role played by REHDA. We hear your views and will give them due consideration. The continued progress and prosperity of Penang can only be achieved through the cooperation of all parties including REHDA through consultation, dialogue and public private partnership.

I would also like to commend REHDA Penang and the organising committee for the commitment towards the less fortunate in our society through your CSR initiatives.

Finally, a big “Thank You” to all REHDA Penang members for your support in making Penang a better place for all and to the organising committee for your commitment in making this annual dinner a success. I wish you all a joyous anniversary celebration and enjoy the evening.

Pejabat Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang Tingkat 28, KOMTAR, 10502, George Town, Pulau Pinang