Two dorms in Penang cater for over 6,000 foreign workers


STATE Housing, Local Government, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo today said that two foreign workers’ dormitories, which are now operating in the state, houses 6,221 foreign workers.


One is in Mukim 14, South Seberang Perai by Westlite Dormitory (Bukit Minyak) Sdn Bhd and the other in Jalan Permatang Damar Laut, Batu Maung.


“The foreign workers, as we are aware, play an important role in stimulating the economy. Hence, it is crucial that they are given a proper shelter to stay.


“The need for foreign workers’ dormitories is mandatory in order to vacate those living in the housing schemes.


“To see the 6,221 foreign workers filled in the two dormitories, with 3,321 in Bukit Minyak and 2,900 in Batu Maung, is definitely a good sign as it is very important to ensure these foreign workers stay under one roof.


“This is to ensure that we avoid unforeseen circumstances due to the Covid-19 pandemic that is still actively present in the society,” Jagdeep (PH – Datok Keramat) said during his speech at the state Engagement Session between the state executive councillors and the assemblymen at St Giles The Wembley Hotel today.


Besides the two dormitories which are already operating, Jagdeep said five other projects are currently in various stages of being built while another one is pending approval from the Penang State Planning Committee (Technical).


“The one pending approval is believed to be the largest foreign workers’ dormitory project in Penang (Teluk Kumbar) or even in Malaysia, which is expected to have some 30,000 beds,” he added.


The screen showing a compilation of Jagdeep’s past events


During his speech, he also mentioned that several parties that once opposed the state government’s plan to build foreign workers’ dormitories in residential areas, are now urging the state government to speed up the building of more dormitories in the said areas.


“They opposed back then and asked us to build the dormitories in commercial areas only, but now after being hit by the pandemic, they finally realise that we need more of such dormitories in the state,” Jagdeep added.


On another matter, Jagdeep reiterated that the state government is ready to plan the building for more of the People’s Housing Project (PPR) units in the state if the Federal Government fails to address the state’s concern over the need for such units.


“We are ready to plan the building of PPR units. The state government will not compromise on issues of housing as it is a basic human need,” he added.


Out of the 114,652 People’s Housing Project (PPR) units announced by the Federal Government recently, only 999 units were supplied to four PPR locations in Penang.


Back in 2019, the state government had identified and proposed five sites, totalling 72.3 acres, namely in Jelutong (northeast district), Jalan Mayang Pasir (southwest district), Ujung Batu (north Seberang Perai), Kampung Tongkang (central Seberang Perai) and Batu Kawan (south Seberang Perai).


Story by Kevin Vimal
Pix by Darwina Mohd Daud