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Penang’s controversial high density policy not here to stay, says exco

January 11th, 2015 Leave a comment

State executive councillors Chow Kon Yeow (left) and Jagdeep Singh Deo (second left) looking at model houses of a project at the Penang Property Summit 2015 at Spice Centre. ― Picture by K.E. Ooi

Penang’s controversial high density housing policy may be removed in future once the state has enough affordable homes, said state executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow.

The local government and traffic management committee chairman said the policy, which allows developers to build more units per acre, will end once there is no longer a need for higher density projects to fill demand for affordable housing.

“It is merely a specific policy to meet with specific needs at this time,” Chow said in a press conference after the opening of the Penang Property Summit 2015 at Spice Centre here today.

“The higher density is to allow us to increase the number of affordable housing units as there is still a higher demand for more affordable housing here,” he added.

Chow said the policy allows developers to build more units per acre so they are able to price a portion of these units within the affordable price range of below RM400,000 per unit.

The Penang state government introduced the high density policy in 2012 in which the density of residential projects was increased from 30 units per acre to 87 per acre, attracting criticisms from non-governmental organisations that claimed this would worsen congestion in the island.

For projects approved under the high density policy, developers must adhere to price controls where five per cent of the units must be priced under RM400,000, 15 per cent at RM300,000 and five per cent at RM200,000.

The state government had justified the policy, saying this would allow for more affordable housing units to be built by private developers to arrest the problem of skyrocketing housing prices in the state.

According to Chow, the Penang state government is aiming to have about 50,000 units of affordable housing in the state in the next three to five years, 20,000 of which will be built by the state-owned Penang Development Corporation (PDC) and the remaining by private developers.

Chow said today affordable housing was a hot button topic nowadays as the state was pressured to ensure enough supply for locals, especially for first time home buyers.

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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