KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government’s move particularly the Housing and Urban Development Board (LPPB), to require residents of People’s Housing Projects (PPRs) that have been rented for more than 10 years to vacate their homes — has been described as hasty and inhumane.
Putatan Umno Chief, Jeffery Nor Mohamed said this is because the tenants especially the B40 group, are currently facing an economic downturn and could not afford to look for a new house or renting one where rents are steadily rising.
According to him, the purported excuse that LPPB received a reprimand from the National Audit Department for tenants over 10 years is irrational because based on the Housing and Town Development Enactment 1981, it clearly states that the duty of the National Audit Department is only to audit the board’s accounts.
There is no authority given to the national Audit department to determine or chart the policy that LPPB should follow, he said.
“Why should the LPPB comply with the reprimand when the real authority lies with the Sabah Minister of Local Government and Housing…even if that is a rule, the state government needs to provide an explanation to the Audit Department and defend the tenants of the PPR housing, the majority of whom are B40,” he said in a statement on Social Media (FB).
According to Jeffery, the state government should explain that it still needs PPR housing projects since the demand from the B40 group is so high while the state government is unable to build more PPR to meet the needs of the people, especially for the low-income group.
“They should not evict those who have been living in PPR for more than 10 years who pay rent every month. What the state government should consider is to help this group, so that the PPR houses they are currently occupying can ultimately be bought and this can certainly help the B40 group to have their own house as has already been implemented in several PPR projects in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.
Jeffery added that if LPPB chairman Datuk Masiung Bana had suggested at the recent Sabah state assembly meeting regarding the instability of the water and electricity supply system in Sabah that leaders’ houses should also be rationed to feel the pain of ordinary people, “the act of evicting PPR tenants would be more painful than the proposal”.
Jeffery, who is also the Director of the Sabah UMNO Elections Department, said the move to ask PPR tenants for more than 10 years to vacate their homes is a step backwards and this will cause slums to grow like mushrooms around the capital because the tenants cannot afford to rent a house let alone buy a house.
“Slogan Sabah Maju Jaya” should go hand in hand with progress in terms of basic facilities that the people can enjoy and of course the state government under the leadership of the Chief Minister needs to see this humanitarian issue as a priority because most of the tenants are locals in line with the PGRS’ struggle that is to fight the rights and interests of the people of Sabah,” he said.
In this regard, according to Jeffery, UMNO Putatan strongly objected to the proposed eviction of the affected PPR tenants and urged the Chief Minister to intervene to solve the problem.