Exco questions why Penang only state left out of federal level meeting

GEORGE TOWN: The state government has expressed dissatisfaction at not being invited to the annual meeting between the states and the Urban Well - Being, Housing and Local Government Ministry unlike in the past.

Despite writing countless letters to address pressing housing issues, Penang was snubbed and this has not gone down well with state executive councillor in charge of housing; Jagdeep Singh Deo.

Jagdeep said the state came across social media postings from the ministry about the meeting, but the state was left out of it.

The annual meeting between the Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar and the respective state executive councillors in charge of the housing portfolio was held earlier this week based on the postings on social media.

"I am disheartened why Penang was left out. In the past, the state was invited to attend a working committee meeting chaired by Noh's deputy Datuk Halimah Sadique, but this time, we were left out altogether," he said at a press conference today.

Jagdeep said the people would judge if the federal government is politicising the issue of housing despite the need for affordable housing.

He said that Penang wanted to urgently discuss with Noh on matters pertaining to the construction of the national affordable housing scheme (PR1MA) as none of such federal projects have taken off in the state.

Besides PR1MA, Jagdeep said the state also wanted to mitigate about the 1MDB Affordable Housing Maintenance Fund, the People's Public Housing and the high loan rejection rate for affordable housing applicants.

Housing remained a topmost priority for Penang but the federal government continues to frustrate the state's efforts, said Jagdeep.

He added that in the past when Halimah chaired the working committee meetings, many of Penang's suggestions were adopted at the federal level.

Noh or any representative from the ministry could not be reached for comments.