SWEET smiles and happiness were clearly reflected on the faces of 26 residents of Desa Wawasan Flats in Bukit Mertajam when they were selected to receive the offer letter for a rent-to-own (RTO) housing scheme today.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said this is the first RTO scheme initiated at the flats involving Block B of Desa Wawasan with 150 units out of 456 units available.
“Our main objective is to convert all units in Block B into RTO scheme but we will do it in phases as there are units that need some repair works to be completed first.
“Those who are selected are from the ‘good payer’ category, which means they don’t have any outstanding payments in terms of rent and maintenance.
“Through the scheme, tenants will have to pay RM240 monthly (each unit costs RM42,000) for a 15-year period without any interest before the home ownership could be transferred to them.
“But, if they can pay more than that, it would be good for them as they can own the house much faster than the current period given.
“This shows that the state government is committed to helping the lower income group to buy their first home through the RTO scheme,” Chow said in his speech at the offer letter handing-over ceremony for the rent-to-own housing scheme at Desa Wawasan Flats in Bukit Mertajam today.
Also present were state Local Government, Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo, Padang Lalang assemblyman Chong Eng, who is also the state executive councillor for Women & Family Development, Gender Inclusiveness & Non-Islamic Religious Affairs and Seberang Perai City Council mayor Datuk Rozali Mohamud.
According to Chow, Desa Wawasan Flats consists of two blocks of 912 units with about 2,500 residents occupying them since 1999.
Each unit has two bedrooms and one bathroom.
“Previously, all the units were rented for a specific period of time to households earning not more than RM2,000 at a monthly rental of RM100.
“But, some of them are still not able to buy their own home even though they have rented the units for more than 10 years.
“Thus, after some considerations, the state government has decided to initiate the RTO scheme.
“We believe this is a balance approach for the tenants, especially for those who are able to pay RM240 monthly under the scheme. Those who are not capable, they can continue to pay the monthly rent of RM100,” he added.
Chow also announced that the state government would allocate RM1.5 million to repair some of the damage units at Desa Wawasan Flats, especially in Block B.
According to Jagdeep, currently there are 2,474 housing units under the RTO scheme in Penang.
“Our goal is to have 18,000 RTO units by 2030. We are also looking forward to adding more units to be rolled out in the RTO scheme.
“This is very important because one of the main reasons for the RTO scheme is to overcome the high loan rejection rates for first-time home buyers.
“This shows that the state government is taking the housing issue very seriously and we care for our people,” he said.
Story by Riadz Akmal
Pix by Darwina Mohd Daud
Video by Noor Siti Nabilah Noorazis