State govt fails to construct low-cost houses between 2009 and 2010

Not a single low-cost house has been built by the Penang Government from 2008 to 2010.

The Auditor-General’s Report stated that all low-cost housing projects in the state had been built by private developers during this time.

“From 2008 to 2010, a total of 14,059 applicants for low-cost housing and Public Housing Projects have been registered, with the total number of applicants standing at 152,702,” the report said.

Stating that the management of low-cost housing in the state could be improved, the report listed late approvals as well as arrears and rent collection as weaknesses of the State Secretary’s Office’s Housing Division.

“A total of 141,497 low-cost housing applicants and 4,146 PPR applicants have been delayed as of Dec 31, 2010.

“The collection of RM0.85mil in rent arrears, RM5.97mil in hire purchase and RM4.95mil in maintenance fees needs immediate action to reduce the sums,” the report said.

“As a result of the outstanding arrears, house maintenance has suffered with the maintenance fund balance shrinking from RM2.65mil in early 2008 to RM0.78mil at the end of 2010,” it added.

The report also stated that the management of Temporary Occupation Licenses in the state needed to be improved on as 96 applications had taken over six months to be approved while 28 cases took from three to six months.

The report suggested closer monitoring and enforcement along with updates to the Land and Mines Office and District Offices data bases.

On road works, the report said RM13.94mil or 97.34% of the allocated RM14.32mil had been used for maintenance projects.

The state Public Works Department had also distributed Federal Government funds amounting to RM120.78mil out of an available RM130.96mil to the districts and the local government authority.

The Auditor-General’s Report also revealed that the Penang Sports Council was unable to offer quality sports facilities due to insufficient allocation to build a training centre or purchase new sporting equipment.

The council had spent a mere RM930,000 from 2008 to 2010 on training programmes and facilities, equipment and equipment maintenance.

Two purchases — shooting equipment and an Optimist sailing dinghy — equalling to RM92,015 could not be traced. - By ANDREA FILMER (The Star)

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