THANKS to Penang government, the seven-day long protest by evicted residents of Taman Manggis People’s Housing Project (PPR) in Komtar has come to an end after both parties reached an amicable solution following continuous engagement.
About 50 residents had been staging a sit-in demonstration since March 6 after enforcement officers sealed their homes.
Apart from that, the affected families also sought shelter at the ground floor of the state administration complex, which houses civil departments and agencies, for the past one week.
Speaking during a press conference, Jagdeep Singh Deo, who oversees the Local Government, Housing, Town and Country Planning portfolio, told reporters that the whole scenario has finally ended after direct negotiation process.
On the details of the settlement involving 11 families, he pointed out that four have moved out voluntarily while another was not given any housing unit as they leased out their unit.
Nonetheless, two were offered a low-cost (LC) unit priced at RM42,000 on a rent-to-own basis in Lebuh Macallum with a monthly rental of RM228 while another family has agreed to purchase a low-medium cost (LMC) unit in the northeast district.
The remaining three families are now still waiting for their applications for LC units to be considered by the state, said Jagdeep.
Jagdeep said the state had always considered the plight and predicament of these people, and he pointed out that they could come forward to negotiate directly.
“We have never prevented them from upgrading their housing status in any manner,” Jagdeep explained.
Asked by reporters on whether the state government was bowing down to the families’ demands, Jagdeep brushed it aside, adding that the state did not ‘kow tow’ to anyone as negotiation took place without third party involvement.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who was also present, described the settlement as an achievement as the seized units from the disqualified residents could now be offered to those in need.
“I do hope the ministry (Housing) will conduct its national exercise in ensuring that PPR only be allocated to those deserving people,” he stressed.
State Health, Agriculture, Agro-based Industry, and Rural Development Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin, who was also involved in the negotiation process, said the state did not bow down to any pressure.
He said certain families also felt uneasy with third party involvement in handling the issue.
“Some of them also felt instigated by this,” he added.
Story by Edmund Lee
Pix by Noor Siti Nabilah Noorazis
Video by Law Suun Ting