Foreign workers moving to hostel in Batu Maung


Photo source: Google Street View

Flat dwellers in Penang’s Macallum Street Ghaut will be bidding adieu to some 600 foreigners when they move out to a hostel soon.

They will be vacating the Sri Saujana flats in stages.

Building manager KS Nirandaran said although the foreigners, who worked at multinational high-tech factories, were well behaved and got along well with the locals, the load of their presence did bear down on the Sri Saujana’s facilities such as the elevators and trash collections.

“As per regulations set by the Human Resources Ministry, only up to six foreign workers should live in a unit. But then, when hundreds are used, imagine how much wear and tear our elevators face, how many trash bins are needed for such a high population density, how many factory buses drive in to fetch them and how many hours must our water pumps send water to the roof tanks?”

The 600 will move into a dedicated hostel in Batu Maung, built a few years ago and comes equipped with 24-hour security and several in-house conveniences and recreational facilities.

Sri Saujana, built in 2009, has 2,208 units of about 650sq ft each and Nirandaran estimates that about 40% of them were rented out to factories or employment agencies that provided housing to workers.

Then, it was sold at RM42,000 for one unit. Now, the market price is RM210,000 to RM250,000, an appreciation of at least 500% in 14 years.

Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi expressed gladness that the state government’s plans were relieving the population load in Macallum Street Ghaut.

“Now, unit owners lament their loss of rental income,” he said.

“Nonetheless, Macallum Street Ghaut will be quieter,” Gooi said.

Local resident and coconut juice seller S. Sangkaran, 60, said it was so hard to find vacant units in Macallum Street Ghaut.

“This place is close to the heart of George Town, so it is a strategic location,” he said.

“Outsiders often stop at my stall to ask if I knew units for rent. But owners don’t want to rent to locals. They want to rent to foreigners, who are willing to pay more,” he said.

Source: TheStar.com.my

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