Guan Eng: Penang Malays not marginalised, low-cost housing provided
KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Lim Guan Eng today said his administration has provided affordable housing for all, refuting Barisan Nasional’s (BN) claims that Malays have been forced to leave the Pakatan Rakyat-led (PR) state due to its steep property prices.
The Penang chief minister slammed the ruling federal coalition and its lynchpin party, Umno, for playing with “racial sentiments with evil accusations that the PR state government wants to marginalise or drive out the Malays” in the federal coalition’s “eagerness to get Malay votes.”
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was yesterday reported to have said that the DAP in Penang “is not fair, it does not give balanced attention to the interests of all races.”
“They have Malay land areas, they should be able to help and develop the areas to relocate the Malays so that they would not leave Penang,” Muhyiddin was quoted as saying.
“This accusation is wrong and untrue because since Pakatan Rakyat (PR) started ruling the state in 2008 until now, as many as 11,596 low-cost and medium-cost housing have been built by both the state government and the private sector,” Lim (picture) said today.
The Penang government says it has built 3,421 affordable housing units while 8,175 units were built by the private sector over the three-year period.
Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, said the Penang government has set aside RM500 million to build at least 18,000 more affordable housing units in all five districts of the island state.
The affordable housing units will be developed in two phases — with 12,000 units in Batu Kawan (200 acres of land) on the mainland and 6,000 units on the island (77 acres).
Former Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin was reported as saying recently that the departure of over 18,000 Penang Malays showed that they had been sidelined by the PR-led state government.
Mohammad Fairus, a PKR-turned-Umno member, had purportedly cited figures from the Penang Socio-Economic Research Centre’s (PreCISE) study to support his claim that high property prices were a factor for Malays leaving the state.
Zairil Khir Johari, political secretary to the Penang CM, had said the results cited by Mohammad Fairus were doubtful as they differed from Penang’s current voter registry, which shows that the state’s Malay voters grew by 34,931 between 2008 and 2011.
Lim also denied allegations that the current Penang government has caused the hike in Penang property prices, saying that his administration has not raised the land premium rate.
“BN’s accusations are false because the state government never raised the land premium rate, it is still maintained at the same level as the previous administration’s,” he said in a statement today.
“A government cannot influence the rise or fall of property prices because it is determined by market demand and public confidence,” the Bagan MP added.