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Project fails to materialise
The Star Penang 5/3/2005

THERE have been two launching ceremonies for the low-cost housing project in Merbau Kudung, Sungai Dua, Penang, in the last five years.

However, the site remains vacant, with no construction activity.

At both launching ceremonies in 1999 and 2004, former residents at the site who were offered the low-cost houses were told that the houses would be ready within 18 months.

Merbau Kudung village security and development committee member Cheah Seng Kee, 69, said residents from 37 houses vacated the area in January last year after the State Bumiputra Steering Committee (JKP) agreed to pay monthly rentals for them.
There are no signs of construction activity at the site.

“The state government acquired the land for the proposed housing project in 1999 and Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon conducted the ground-breaking ceremony.” 

“No work was carried out and last year, the authorities agreed to proceed with the project.  

“There was a simple ceremony attended by Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Seri Mohd Shariff Omar and a few JKP officials in January. 

“At the function, we were asked to move out from the area and JKP agreed to pay RM300 monthly rental to each affected house owner. Each of us received advance payment of RM1,800 for a period of six months.  

“So far, we have received three payments for rental until the anticipated completion of the housing project this June.  

“Now, we do not know what will happen after June. There is only empty space instead of houses,” he said.  

He said all the affected residents were now renting houses elsewhere pending the completion of the project. 

When completed, the low-cost housing project on the 5ha land would have 210 low-cost terrace houses, 80 medium-cost terrace houses and 10 shoplots. 

Cheah and a few residents yesterday approached Mohd Shariff for help.  

Mohd Shariff said he had been told that JKP could not carry out the project because the state government had yet to appoint them as developer. 

“The state government has yet to sign the agreement with JKP to allow the committee to carry out the project.  

“JKP needs the approval so that they can apply for the permit from the Housing and Local Government Ministry to carry out the project. Without the permit, it cannot apply for the Federal Government allocation. 

“I do not know what is holding back the state government because this project is for the people. I hope this project does not have to go through a third launching ceremony,” he said


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