GEORGE TOWN: THERE is a whopping RM14.16mil in cumulative rent and maintenance arrears owed by over half of the residents in the People’s Housing Project (PPR) in the state, as at July this year.
State Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the arrears covered 8,093 out of 14,027 units on the island and mainland.
He said that there had been efforts to recover the arrears, including through legal means.
Meanwhile, there were complaints that some residents were longer eligible to rent the PPR units as they were driving luxury cars and enjoyed facilities in their units which should not be there, such as Astro.
“According to the tenancy agreement, they cannot install Astro dishes, but we have given them some concession.
“We have sent letters to these tenants requiring them to get written consent from the state government to subscribe to Astro.
“Those who fail to get approval or have arrears will have their Astro dishes removed,” he said in a press conference here yesterday.
Among the flats with high arrears were Rifle Range, Kampung Melayu, Taman Free School and Permatang Damar Laut on the island; and Taman Tun Dr Awang, Jalan Mohd Saad, Taman Bagan Jaya and Jawi III on the mainland.
Jagdeep said there were positive responses from the tenants since the letters were sent in August.
“The tenants are understanding and want to be responsible. Some have written to us for consent, saying that they have no arrears; some have paid up, while others want to discuss a payment arrangement.
“We hope this will enhance the effectiveness of collecting rent and maintenance charges,” he said.
He said the committee had to be strict about this matter as there was a long waiting list of people “who needed a roof over their heads, who do not drive a Mercedes Benz, who do not have a 50-inch television mounted in their units, and who cannot afford to subscribe to Astro.”
He lauded those who were able to move on because they had fared well economically and make their units available to the next person.
When asked about the eligibility of the tenants whose income had risen above RM1, 500, Jagdeep said a periodic census is being carried out.
“Those who are found to have other houses will be asked to vacate their units unless there is a reasonable explanation,” he added.