The Lim Guan Eng administration bundled low and medium-cost housing schemes with luxurious ones and labelled them “affordable homes.” The Chief Minister of Penang got his exco to do this on the pretext of eliminating stigmas allegedly associated with lower bracket schemes. But that is so far from the truth. This article is designed to expose that truth and explain what all of this has to do with the landslide that occurred at Tanjung Bungah last Saturday, the 21st of October 2017
THE THIRD FORCE
On the 19th of January 2017, Penang’s Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee Chairman, Jagdeep Singh Deo, announced the state government’s decision to ‘rebrand’ low and medium-cost houses as “affordable homes.” With the rebranding, houses costing RM42,000 each are now referred to as “affordable housing type A” (or AHTA), while medium-cost houses priced at RM72,000 are known as “affordable housing type B” (or AHTB). So you see, the term “low-cost” no longer exists in Guan Eng’s textbooks.
But the Guan Eng administration did none of that. Still, Jagdeep seemed to have a good reason why the state resorted to calling low-cost homes “affordable homes.” According to him, the term “low-cost” had a “very negative connotation” to it and would bring undue “stigma to the purchasers of such units.” He told newsmen that it would be improper to burden purchasers with such a stigma as they would “inevitably be first-time house buyers.”
Now, the impression given by Jagdeep was that the state administration did not discriminate against people from the lower income segment. He implied that these people would be able to purchase low-cost homes on the island owing to the state government’s caring attitude and commitment towards the welfare of all Penangites.
Well, let’s see…