Wednesday, May 11, 2011

PRESS STATEMENT BY MR WONG MUN HOE on Mahsuri Flats

PRESS STATEMENT BY MR WONG MUN HOE, VICE CHAIRMAN OF PENANG STATE GERAKAN, ON BEHALF OF BARISAN NASIONAL PENANG


On 3rd May, 2011 after the memorandum to appeal to the Penang State Government for the repainting of 53 blocks of flats and apartments was submitted to the Chief Minister, two important points were immediately made by the Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, YB Ng Wei Aik

1. Private high rise management including repainting is the responsibility of the developer or the management committee.

2. The State Government will only consider the repainting for PDC, MPPP, MPSP and State Government low cost flats.

Following his response, I have 3 questions for YB Ng Wei Aik to answer.

1. Is YB Ng Wei Aik aware that the first apartment to be announced to be given this repainting ‘grant’ is the M3,4 and 5 apartments in Mahsuri, Bayan Baru and that this announcement is made by his boss, the Chief Minister himself?

2. Is YB Ng Wei Aik aware that the M3, 4 and 5 apartments is not low-cost or low-medium cost?

3. Is YB Ng Wei Aik aware that although M3, 4 and 5 apartments is build by PDC, that does not mean that M3,4 and 5 is State-owned and that M3,4 and 5 have been managed by their Management Committee for almost 8 years now? In other words, M3,4, 5 is a medium cost private apartment.

Subsequently, on 6th of May 2011, EXCO member for Housing, YB Wong Hon Wai in his response to the repainting issue, said the following:

1. Management Corporations of private low-cost flats should use their SINKING FUNDS to carry out repainting and repairs on these buildings and that the State Government was not obliged to carry out repainting work on these flats.

2. The State Government has for now agreed to undertake 80% of the repainting cost on low and MEDIUM-COST flats that are UNDER the State Government, PDC, MPSP and MPPP.

In response to this, I have 6 questions for YB Wong Hon Wai:

1. Is YB Wong Hon Wai aware how much sinking funds are available for each and every one of the low-cost and low-medium cost flats, both State-owned and private? I suspect that YB Wong does not have the answer but one does not need to be clever to know that the answer is either none or very little. So how if no sinking funds?
2. Is YB Wong Hon Wai aware of the present problems faced by many of these residents, who are even unable to pay for their monthly rental and maintenance fees? Again, I suspect that YB Wong also does not know but I can inform you that the sum total of those in default is probably in the millions. So if can’t even pay for rental or maintenance, how to pay for repainting?

3. Is the Penang State Government saying that they will not be responsible for the repainting and repairing of low-cost flats in the State if it is built by the private sector? If this is so, then I hope that residents of those staying in these private low-cost flats will seriously take note of this answer since it is the State requirement for all developers to build low-cost flats which are then allocated by the State Government. If Penang State Government does not bother or care for those in low-cost, then whose responsibility is that?

4. Does this now mean that the State Government will undertake 80% of repainting cost for ALL MEDIUM-COST flats UNDER the State Government? Notice that there is a difference between what is being said by YB Ng Wei Aik which never mentioned about medium-cost while the ‘clarification’ by YB Wong Hon Wai include medium-cost.

5. What is the difference between medium-cost flats that are under the State Government, PDC, MPSP and MPPP versus those that are privately built? If the Penang State Government is prepared to pay for the repainting of those flats that are under the State Government, they should also be prepared to do the same for other such flats irrespective of whether they are under the State or not. Again, I would like the owners of such private flats to take note of this discriminatory measure.

6. Can YB Wong Hon Wai clarifies if M3,4 and 5 is under PDC or PDC-built? There is a very big difference between PDC-owned and PDC-built. PDC-owned means that the building and all the units still belong to PDC and therefore PDC as the owner is certainly obliged to undertake all repainting or repair work whereas PDC-built is not the same. For example, if PDC were to build apartments costing RM250,000 per unit, does this mean that PDC will still undertake to take care of all its repainting and repair works?

So, from the responses of both the YBs, we can only conclude the following:

1. The Penang State Government seems to be in a terribly confused state of affairs as far as this repainting issue is concerned as they are not even able to differentiate between low-cost, low-medium and medium cost. They are further confused by what are State-owned and State-built flats and apartments.

2. It is very unfair of the Penang State Government to give the innocent and poor people living in low-cost and low-medium cost flats the ‘false hope’. When the Penang State Government first announced the repainting of M3,4 and 5, surely they have raised the expectations of all others who are presently living in such similar high-rise. As such, there is totally nothing wrong for residents of all low-cost and low-medium flats in Penang to expect the same benefits, failing which, we can only conclude that this is a real discriminatory and unfair policy by the Penang State Government.

Irregardless of how the Penang State Government is going to resolve this issue, we stand by and reiterate that there is totally nothing wrong in us to represent those living in low-cost and low-medium cost in making the appeal that:

1. The Penang State Government should be responsible for the repainting of all low-cost and low-medium cost flats and apartments irrespective of whether State-owned, State-built or private.

2. For those in low-cost and low-medium cost, the formula of 80:20 to repaint should be dropped and that the Penang State Government should fully undertake the cost of repainting.
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