THE OFFICIAL LAUNCHING OF HOUSING IN MALAYSIA: ISSUES, CHALLENGED AND THE WAY FORWARD FORUM

Posted in Dari Meja Ketua Menteri

Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
Housing in Malaysia’s Forum
7 May 2017


In Penang, the state government places a high emphasis on housing. In my 2014 Budget Speech, I mentioned that the state government aims to achieve a democratisation of housing in order to fulfil Penangites’ aspirations to have a place they can call home, especially those who are from the lower income families.

Penang being a land scarce state faces our own challenges when it comes to building houses. However in the bigger picture, Malaysian development policy poses a problem as well. The disparity between federal and state policy contributed to confusion among developers and home buyers. At times, having a larger power and resources compared to the state government, the federal government’s punitive attitude towards states governed by political rivals makes the matter even worse. Take for example, how developers in Penang were denied or were being delayed their application of Advertising Permit and Development License (APDL) by the federal government. The delay may actually contribute to the cost of a development project and more often than not, increases in cost will be passed on to buyers.

The Penang state government, fully aware of our challenges and limitation, sets as our priority, the provision of affordable housing for the people. In 2011, we established an Affordable Housing Fund with an initial grant of RM500 million. The purpose of the fund is to expand the stock of affordable housing throughout the state, either through the state’s own development or partnership with the private sector. We are the first and only state to have such fund.

Between 2008 and 2016, the state government has built 20,887 units of affordable housings of all categories throughout Penang. It is by no means a small feat. Let me give you a contrast, within 2000 and 2007, the previous state government only managed to build 5,124 units.

For the future, we are aiming to build another 20,000 units, spread out in both Seberang Perai and the Island. A new township, Bandar Cassia is being planned in Batu Kawan, the first phase of which will be completed this year with over 500 units of affordable housing.

It is our firm commitment that every Penangites will be able to afford their own home which is well-serviced in an environment that is clean, green, safe and healthy.

The state government understands that Penang’s vibrant property market is good for investors. However, the state government has a responsibility to shield the most vulnerable groups from the market storms. We do not intervene at the upper echelon housing market. We want to encourage talents and investors to make Penang their location of choice and habitat of choice. But the state government uses policy instruments to ensure affordability for locals. For example, we grant higher density and lower charges to developments which build 100% affordable housing.

In order to ensure maximum protection for locals, foreigners can only purchase landed property priced at least RM3 million on the island and RM1 million in Seberang Perai or strata property priced at least RM1 million. There is also a 3% levy on property purchased by foreigners. Not forgetting, there is a moratorium on subsale of affordable units for a period of 5 years for affordable housing and 10 years for low-cost and low medium cost houses according to the pricing category of the units. There is also a 2% levy imposed on property flipping, which is defined as property sold within three years from the date of the Sales & Purchase Agreement. This is to attract genuine buyers and avoid speculation which will increase the price of affordable housing.
But achieving home ownership is not as simple as merely constructing houses. With the tightening of Bank Negara’s mortgage ruling, homeownership among the lower income and the poor becomes a major challenge. I agree that we cannot dispense credit indiscriminately. However, home mortgage especially in the affordable housing category should not be seen as a purely commercial financial activity.

The government and developers assumed business and financial risks when we take up to provide affordable housing for the people. This is social responsibility. Banks therefore must not shirk from their social responsibility as well. It cannot be just a government venture. Even when the state government reduced the price of a RM42,000 low cost house by 20%, some still could not get bank loans.

We regret that 70% of intended 1st-time buyers who register with us are unable to secure housing loans from banks. Bank Negara disputes such figures because they fail to include intended buyers who cannot even make an application because they do not have any proper documentation. For this, I hope our federal regulators will review the current model to take into consideration affordable housing categories when approving loans.

The issue becomes worse when the expected new home is delayed. A buyer for example has to bear both the cost of rental and mortgage in a prolonged period of time due to the unexpected delay in the unit’s delivery.

Which is why we must take seriously the recent controversial "extension of time" (EOT) granted by the Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, where developers are allowed to extend their stipulated deadline of delivery. This means they are exempted from paying late delivery charges, known as liquidated ascertained damages (LAD), to their buyers. Such move entails several important issues, the key of which is the risk of development is unfairly borne by buyers when government policy disproportionately sides the developer.

EOTs should be only granted before Sale & Purchase Agreement is signed with the purchasers in the interests of justice. To grant EOT after S& P is signed is singularly unfair to purchasers as they are denied their Liquidated damages for compensation for late delivery. After all the Ministry of Housing is not a party to the contract and should not intervene to extend the contractual period, which is beneficial only to the developer. If EOT is granted before the S&P is signed then the purchasers are fully aware as they go in with the eyes open that their houses will be delivered not within the stipulated period but later. EOT should only be granted for high-rise buildings which are over 30 storeys, as they need more time to construct. For other cases, there must be special circumstances warranting the granting of EOT. What the former Minister of Housing has done is unfair interference into a private contract that does not benefit the purchasers as well as the public interest.

Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan was the Minister of Housing who had granted a 12-month extension to a developer to complete the project, thereby allowing the developer to record huge savings and purchasers to lose out on their claims of liquidated damages for late delivery.

Abdul Rahman had entertained the appeal of one housing developer caring only for their interests, without taking into account the interests of 104 purchasers, clearly showing that he is the Minister of Housing Developers rather than Minister of Housing. Did Abdul Rahman consult with the 104 housing purchasers before “robbing” them of their rights and entitlement to compensation with a stroke of a pen?

In the housing sale and purchase contract, the Minister is not a party to the contract but an outside third party, who had no relationship with the sale and purchase contract signed between the purchasers and housing developer. The Minister had chosen to interfere in a private contractual agreement to side the single housing developer against 104 house buyers. In his case, the KL High Court had ruled that Abdul Rahman Dahlan had abused his powers.

At the very least, Abdul Rahman should have tried to gain the consent from the two parties in the contract, namely the housing developer and the house buyers. Instead he has chosen to blindly support the housing developer and continues to do so. He should have the courage to face 104 housebuyers and explain why he is appealing against the KL High Court decision.

Should he dare not do so or fail to convince the house buyers why he is right, then he should withdraw the appeal and accept the KL High Court decision with an open heart to allow the house buyers to reclaim their rights and entitlement to full compensation from the housing developer for compensation for late delivery.

For our part, the state government recently reintroduced the rent-to-buy scheme to assist the lower income group to own a home. The pilot rent-to-buy scheme was launched with 51 units in Taman Seruling Emas and 359 in Taman Sungai Duri Permai. In Taman Seruling Emas for example, the applicants pay a monthly rent of RM100 plus RM20 maintenance for 15 years and then the unit is transferred to them. This way, we are enabling more people to own a home. However we do not have the funds to do more rent-to-buy schemes.

Hence, it is timely that Penang Institute is organising this talk to discuss about the various challenges and issues that is faced by the housing market in Malaysia, from the perspectives of public housing, economy as well as the perspectives from home buyers as well. I hope that you will be enjoying the discussion later today.

It is important to reckon that housing demand in Malaysia will not disappear, not at least for the next decade or so, due to the relatively young population that Malaysia has. While we encourage the market to grow and prosper, we cannot depend fully on market dynamics to meet both the need and demand for housing in Malaysia. The state government is committed to this vision to democratise housing in Penang and hence, we are constantly exploring new ways to achieve this vision. I hope that discussion such as this one will be expanded to more experts so that finally, we can achieve our goal to democratise housing.

MAJLIS PELANCARAN BAGI CADANGAN MEMBAIKPULIH 6 UNIT BANGUNAN WARISAN MILIKAN MAJLIS BANDARAYA PULAU PINANG BERALAMAT NO.94, 96, 98, 100, 102 DAN 102A LEBUH KIMBERLY

Posted in Dari Meja Ketua Menteri

UCAPAN KETUA MENTERI PULAU PINANG

SEMPENA MAJLIS PELANCARAN BAGI CADANGAN MEMBAIKPULIH

6 UNIT BANGUNAN WARISAN MILIKAN MAJLIS BANDARAYA PULAU PINANG BERALAMAT NO.94, 96, 98, 100, 102 DAN 102A LEBUH KIMBERLY

PADA 04.05.2017 (KHAMIS), JAM 9.30 PAGI
LEBUH KIMBERLY, PULAU PINANG

 

 

Selamat pagi dan Salam Bersih kepada tuan-tuan, puan-puan, dan pihak media.

Saya amat berbesar hati kerana berpeluang menyaksikan detik bersejarah di Majlis Pelancaran bagi Cadangan Membaikpulih 6 unit Bangunan Warisan Milikan Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang (MBPP) beralamat No. 94, 96, 98, 100, 102 dan 102A Lebuh Kimberly pada pagi ini.

Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan, sila beri perhatian kepada ruangan dan gaya senibina terunggul yang terdapat pada bangunan warisan yang kita duduki sekarang. Bangunan warisan ini merupakan bangunan warisan Kategori 2 yang terletak di dalam Zon Penampan Tapak Warisan Dunia George Town dengan gaya senibina Eklektik ‘Cina Selatan’ (Southern Chinese Eclectic Style).

Penilaian struktur yang dijalankan oleh MBPP pada tahun 2007 mendapati bahawa keadaan struktur kesemua bangunan adalah dalam keadaan yang usang dan mengalami kerosakan yang agak ketara. Di antaranya, dinding pemisah (party wall) telah mengalami keretakan teruk (major cracks), struktur lantai kayu dan lantai papan di bahagian atas bangunan telah reput.

Dengan pelancaran projek baikpulih ini, kita akan menyaksikan makeover yang baru untuk bangunan berusia lebih 100 tahun ini dalam masa 14 bulan darisekarang apabila kerja-kerja membaikpulih ini berjaya disempurna seperti yang dijadualkan.

Selepas kerja-kerja menaiktaraf ke-enam unit bangunan ini, ia akan diubahsuai kepada 8 ruangan yang baharu di mana bangunan beralamat 94, 96, 102 dan 102A, Lebuh Kimberley akan dibahagikan kepada 6 ruangan yang mempunyai akses, dapur dan tandas individu. Ruangan yang berasingan ini akan membolehkan penghuni memiliki ruangan yang diperlukan dengan sewa yang lebih mampan. Kita juga akan membaikpulih bangunan beralamat 98 dan 100 sebagai rumah kedai yang bakal didiami oleh dua penghuni yang berasingan.

Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan,

Semasa dalam tempoh kerja-kerja membaikpulih ini, pihak MBPP akan bekerjasama dengan Geroge Town World Heritage Incorporated untuk mengadakan kursus/bengkel kepada perunding arkitek, kontraktor dan pemilik bangunan. Dengan ini, semua kerja-kerja membaikpulih yang terlibat dalam projek ini akan direkodkan melalui video dan foto untuk dijadikan sebagai sumber rujukan untuk pendidikan.

Selain itu, untuk merealisasikan komitmen Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang ke arah Hijau, projek ini juga telah bekerjasama dengan Green Building Index Sdn. Bhd. untuk mewujudkan GBI Tools yang baru khusus untuk bangunan warisan, iaitu GBI Heritage Tools.

Untuk maklumam tuan-tuan dan puan-puan sekalian, Pasar Chowrasta yang baru-baru ini dibaikpulih merupakan satu-satunya bangunan warisan dalam Tapak Warisan Dunia George Town yang memiliki Sijil GBI. MBPP sedang berusaha untuk mencapai tahap GBI yang paling tinggi melalui projek ini demi menjadi teladan dan pengalaman yang baru untuk kerja-kerja konservasi bangunan warisan di George Town.

Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan,

Jawatankuasa Projek Kimberley Street ini telah ditubuhkan bagi mengurus dan meneliti pelaksanaan projek ini agar berjalan dengan lebih teratur, terperinci dan menepati keperluan projek dan bersedia mendengar pandangan dan maklum balas daripada pihak awam dan komuniti setempat.

Untuk makluman, projek ini telah diserahkan kepada Syarikat Kejuruteraan Asas Teguh Sejagat sebagai kontraktor utama projek ini pada 16 Februari 2017 melalui proses tender terbuka. Kerja-kerja naiktaraf yang melibatkan kos sebanyak RM2,993,840.50 (tidak termasuk GST) dijangka siap pada 15 Jun 2018.

Saya juga telah dimaklumkan bahawa pihak George Town World Heritage Incorporated dalam proses merancang program-program dan insentif yang bakal disediakan untuk penghuni-penghuni baru selepas kerja-kerja membaikpulih bangunan-bangunan secara fizikal ini disempurnakan. Penghuni baru akan diberikan ruangan yang bersesuaian dengan keperluan pekerjaan masing-masing, malah mereka juga akan diberikan bantuan teknikal dari segi usahawan inovasi, kreativiti dan pengurusan pasaran yang penting dalam memastikan aktiviti warisan tradisi ini boleh bersaing dalam pasaran tempatan malah di peringkat antarabangsa. Kadar sewa dan penghuni yang dipilih akan ditetapkan kemudian.

Dengan ini, saya dengan berbesar hati merasmikan majlis pelancaran bagi Cadangan Membaikpulih 6 unit Bangunan Warisan Milikan MBPP di Lebuh Kimberly ini.

Sekian, terima kasih.

QNET V-Malaysia Convention 2017

Posted in Dari Meja Ketua Menteri

Speech byChief Minister of Penang
QNET V-Malaysia Convention 2017
Subterranean Penang International Convention & Exhibition Center
3 May 2017


Ladies and Gentlemen

Welcome everyone to the island of Penang! I am honoured to have been accorded this opportunity once again to speak to this energetic audience, especially all our Guests from abroad. I must thank QNET for inviting me to this extraordinary Convention which every year does uplifts Penang and undoubtedly QNet itself!

The last time I was here two years ago, I still remember how the Convention kick-start with a flurry of artistic performances, a Malaysian cultural dance, an acoustic fusion of Malaysian and Irish music, a fantastic Chinese Dragon Dance, and the dynamic drums. It was a great start to the event itself, and as we believe, an auspicious one too!

QNet has a remarkable business and track record, and that over the years its grown from strength to strength in the ecommerce sector, with innovative and progressive ideas. I am very happy to note there that QNET has brought successful entrepreneurs to Malaysia, particularly to Penang for the fourth consecutive year.

Once again, we have a sold-out conference. Every seat has been taken and in fact was overbooked at this SPICE Arena. This should definitely go into the Malaysia Book of Records.

Today, we are a world-renowned tourist destination and acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Heritage City. But your presence here has made Penang known and certified that Penang is indeed an international city. You have chosen the right location. Even CNN had ranked Penang as the No. 2 of the 17 of the best places to visit in the world for 2017. And for this faith and confidence in the state of Penang, I would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to Dato’ Sri Vijay Eswaran and his wonderful team at QI Group.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am glad to acknowledge Dato’ Sri Vijay Eswaran, the Executive Chairman of the QI Group, as another Penang entrepreneur who in turn has helped create many successful entrepreneurs in this country and around the world. Dato’ Sri Vijay is indeed a man of vision, and his faith in hard work, knowledge and determination continues to inspire global citizens around the world to pursue greater success and he has chosen the Conference's theme – Limitless.

Finally, I would like to wish all of you a very successful V-Malaysia 2017 in Penang. Please take some time off from your schedules to enjoy this beautiful island which has plenty to offer especially its delicious food and the different cultural experience.

Thank you, Terima Kasih, Sastrikal, Shukran, Nandri.

German Energiewende Exhibition

Posted in Dari Meja Ketua Menteri

Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
German Energiewende Exhibition

on 2nd May 2017

 

Going Green the German Way

Do you believe that industrial progress and sustainable green environment is an impossibility, a mismatch? The German Energy Transition Energiewende has already shown the world that going green sustains and supports the economic growth of one of the biggest industrial nations in the world.

Since its debut in Beijing in April 2016, this ambitious and forward-looking governmental project has been making its rounds around the world as a travelling exhibition and is finally hitting South East Asian shores for the first time with a grand unveiling here in Penang in this wonderful exhibition area until 7th May.

About the German Energiewende exhibition:

The German Energiewende exhibition illustrates clearly and in depth, the German government’s pursuit of a focused and ambitious road map which will see the country derive at least 80% of electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2050. Already, remarkable strides have been made on this front with about 32% of electricity and more than 13% of heating and cooling derived from renewable energy sources. This rigorous shift of the German energy system will rely on three pillars, namely an enhanced usage of renewable energy, improved energy efficiency and the phasing out of nuclear energy. The exhibition will also cover new technological developments such as ‘Smart Grids’. The German Energiewende is the German pathway into a sustainable future that is environmentally friendly, reliable and economically profitable.

Safe and secure ultra-long-term storage of nuclear waste is still unresolved. Many developed countries such as Germany have gradually opted out nuclear power plants. Government's investment on energy efficiency and renewable energy is becoming more appealing and affordable than nuclear power plants alongside policies introduced by their governments. Germany's nuclear energy usage has been reduced to 6.9% in 2016 from 10.9% in 2010 and the last nuclear power plant will be shut down by 2023.

Penang is the first state in Malaysia to oppose Nuclear power energy plants in Malaysia and we will continue to do so. Since 2010, the Federal government has proposed building not one but two two mega nuclear power plants in Malaysia. How can nuclear energy be safely used in Malaysia with our poor safety record when even advanced scientific countries like Japan and Germany are reducing their reliance on nuclear energy?

It is unacceptable that the Government continues to keep the rakyat in the dark over its plan to build nuclear power plants. Given the latest development, we are deeply concerned that the Government is pushing ahead to adopt this highly-controversial energy source as it continues to pay lip service to stakeholders' consultation.

The State Government also has a vision to make Penang a “Cleaner, Greener, Safer, Healthier, and Happier” state. Since 2010, we have kicked start a series of environmental initiatives to promote resource efficiency such as free CAT BUS, No Free Plastic Bags Every day, total ban on polystyrene food containers, giving incentives to GBI certified buildings, building cycling lanes and introduce Link Bike sharing system, implementing Waste Segregation at Source policy. The state government also wants all the state government offices to be certified as Penang Green Office by Penang Green Council (PGC) and complete their carbon reporting by 2020. The local governments are also gradually replacing street lights with LED lightings.

We have achieved the highest recycling rate in the country of 32% as compared to the national average of 10.5% and hope to increase the current recycling rate from 32% to 40% by 2020. We had never allowed logging on permanent forest reserves, not a single square inch has been touched. Furthermore, we have planted more than 271,000 new trees in Penang since 2008.

I am very satisfied that Germany is bringing this informative exhibition to Penang, as part of the celebrations of 60 years of diplomatic relations between Germany and Malaysia in 2017.