Saturday, May 22, 2010

BN Government Abused Low-Cost Flats Scheme

Expose on allocation of low-cost flats to MBPJ council senior officers must be investigated thoroughly by the state government and MACC

Under the previous Barisan Nasional Selangor government, the then Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Mohd Khir Toyo had initiated a “zero squatter” policy where state land were cleared of squatters, handed to private developers in exchange for the construction of low-cost flats for the displaced squatters. These low cost flats are usually sold for highly subsidized rates between RM40,000 to RM80,000 each unit to ensure maximum affordability for the low-income group, especially in urban areas like Petaling Jaya.

DAP MBPJ councillor, Mak Khuin Weng has recently exposed the fact that hundreds of these low-cost flats may have been allocated to MBPJ officials and had sought a full audit and investigation by Datuk Bandar without much success since early this year.

According to one of the beneficiaries of the low-cost flat, the Planning Director of MBPJ, Sharipah Marhaini Syed Ali, the BN state government had introduced a policy in 2001 where council staff were eligible for low cost units.

According to The Sun report today, the Petaling Jaya Deputy Mayor Puasa Mohd Taib, have also confirmed that “the council does not have a policy barring directors, deputy directors or senior assistant directors from buying low-cost units,” adding that in 2001, the state government encouraged government servants, other than those in the lower income bracket, to buy low-cost homes as an incentive. He also admitted that there are up to 500 MBPJ officials who benefited from this scheme.

The relevations are shocking as it means that more than 500 of the displaced urban poor had been unable to secure a low-cost unit for themselves. It also explains the reason why both my office and the offices of the Petaling Jaya state assemblymen had been receiving many complaints from former squatters who were unable to obtain low-cost units meant for them.

We do not blame the MBPJ officers who took up units if those in power have given the instruction that they could. However, the State Government must determine the veracity of the claims by the council officers and determine if the clear abuse of power as with the previous state government led by Datuk Seri Mohd Khir Toyo, or the by previous MBPJ top management. In addition, the state government must compile a list of the real eligible buyers of the low-cost flats and ensure that the rights to these flats are returned to them.

The MACC must prove its relevance and investigate this abuse and prosecute those involved in diverting the benefits of state low-cost flats policies to the hands of those who where clearly ineligible. If MACC fails to conduct a serious probe on those from the previous state government involved in such policies which robs the poor, and enrich the wealthy, then it will clearly demonstrate its complete lack of effectiveness in clamping down on corruption and abuse of power.
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