Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Taman Ungku Tun Aminah DAP Branch Anniversary Branch dinner held in Johore Bahru on Saturday, 20th June 1993 at 8p.m.
Call on Housing Minister, Dr. Ting Chew Peh to confirm whether his Minister has abandoned 40 per cent of the Special Low Cost Hosuing Programme as failures although the three-year programme had been extended to nine years
Housing is the greatest failure of the Barisan Nasional Government, and the MCA Minister for Housing, Dr. Ting Chew Peh, is therefore one of the Cabinet Ministers who has the worst record in terms of Ministerial performance and achievement in housing.
In March last year, Dr. Ting Chew Peh announced that the Federal Government’s Special Low Cost Housing Programme (SLCHP) had been given a second extension till the end of the Sixth Malaysia Plan in 1995, converting a three-year crash low-cost housing programme to be completed in 1989 into a nine-year slow-motion low-cost housing programme.
The three-year SLCHP was launched in 1986, and immediately the Housing Ministry raised its target of completing 240,000 low-cost houses in three years to some 300,000 units.
Despite repeated assurances by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and the various MCA Housing Ministers that the three-year SLCHP targets would be fulfilled, the SLCHP had proved to be the greatest embarrassment for the Housing Minister in the country.
When Dr. Ting Chew Peh announced in March last year that the three-year SCLHP programme 1986-1989 had been given a second extension till 1995, he said that the State Government had been asked to investigate into the delays and shortfalls in completion, as only 34 per cent of the target had been completed although the time-frame had been extended from three to five years, and again to nine years.
Dr. Ting said: “The ministry is serious about ensuring the completion of the projects as it involves the poor. To date only 112,679 units have been completed.
“To ensure that the target of 328,391 low-cost houses is met, the scheme has been extended till the end of the Sixth Malaysia Plan even though it was to have expired at the end of last year.”
Has Dr. Ting Chew Peh succeeded in getting SLCHP back on its track so that all the 328,391 low-cost units would be completed lastest the end of the Sixth Malaysia Plan in 1995?
The answer I have got from the Minister of Housing to a question I submitted to Parliament last month showed that the Housing Minister is facing an unmitigated disaster as far as the SLCHP is concerned, although the three-year programme had been extended into a nine year programme.
According to a written answer by the Minister for Housing, Dr. Ting Chew Peh, a total of 320,874 low-cost units had been registered under the SLCHP, and as at the end of last year, 136,258 units had been completed with the following state breakdown:
Federal Territory 8,880
Negri Sembilan 7,260
This means that by the end of 1992, only 136,258 units or 42 per cent of the SLCHP targets had been met, although it had already taken double the original three-year time frame.
What is even more shocking is the second part of Dr. Ting Chew Peh’s answer.
He said that the rest of the SLCHP programmes which would be completed in the next three years are 25,138 units in 1993, 18,733 units in 1994 and 13,046 units in 1995.
However, the 136,258 units together with the units to be completed from 1993 to 1995 does not add up to the total SLCHP target of 320,874! In fact, there are 127,699 low-cost units missing – which represent some 40 per cent of the total SLCHP target.
This missing figure is a huge and colossal one. Has the Housing Ministry decided to achieve the SLCHP at the Sixth Malaysia Plan by the simple solution of abounding 40 per cent of its target of 320,874 units?
Dr. Ting Chew Peh must make a clear-cut statement whether the Housing Ministry has abandoned 40 per cent of its SLCHP target as failures although the three-year programme had been extended to nine years till the end of 1995.
If Barisan Nasional Ministers really ‘Look East’ and emulate Japanese examples of Ministerial accountability, a Minister who could deliver at most 60 per cent of the SLCHP target after the original three-year programme had been extended to nine years would have tendered his resignation long ago. But this is of course asking too much from Barisan Nasional and MCA Ministers!
The Barisan Nasional Government cannot claim to be a caring society which is concerned about the acute housing needs of the poor and the low-income when it is so lackadaisical, indifferent and unbothered about the success of the SLCHP.