(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): On Monday, the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Datuk Dr. Ting Chew Peh moved the first reading of the Control of Rent (Repeal) Bill 1997 to abolish the 1966 Rent Control Act, starting from September 1 this year.
I now understand that the Control of Rent (Repeal) Bill 1997 would be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat next week for debate, without giving Members of Parliament or the one million people who would be affected by the decontrol law the adequate time and opportunity for study, public feedback and consultation.
The government had spent more than 20 years to study the rent decontrol process and there can be no justification for not giving Members of Parliament, and even more important, the one million people who would be adversely affected by the repeal of the Rent Control Act, a minimum time of three months to study the implications of the government rent decontrol Bill and the opportunity to make proposals before the second reading of the Control of Rent (Repeal) Bill 1997.
The second reading debate of the Control of Rent (Repeal) Bill 1997 should be deferred to the next meeting of Parliament, which is scheduled to meet for 11 days from July 14 to 31. This will give MPs and the one million people who will be affected by the Control of Rent (Repeal) Bill 1997 three months to study the rent decontrol proposals and to give their views and suggestions.
The Ministry of Housing and Local Government proposes the rent decontrol process to begin on September 1, providing for a 27-month transition period culminating in a full repeal by 31st December 1999.
This is too short a transition period for the repeal of the Rent Control Act in order to minimise socio-economic hardships and dislocations, and I call on the the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Datuk Dr. Ting Chew Peh, to revert to the original government proposal to allow for a five-year transition period for the repeal of the Rent Control Act 1966
If the second reading of the Rent Control (Repeal) Bill is deferred to the July meeting of Parliament, there should also be a six-month deferment for the start of the process of rent decontrol from the proposed date of Sept. 1 to March 1 next year. DAP posted Rent Control (Repeal) Bill on Internet at the DAP homepage mirror site - the fifth Malaysian bill to be online
There are 36,467 buildings in Peninsular Malaysia which are protected by the Rent Control Act 1966, with one-third of them in Penang. The other states with a high number of controlled premises are Johore (5,659), Perak (5,531), Malacca (4,135), Federal Territory (2,500) and Negri Sembilan (2,003).
The Federal and State Governments had more than two decades to make the decontrol process as painless as possible by ensuring that alternative affordable low-cost housing are available to the affected residents of rent control premises, but their failure is no justification for them to evade their social responsibility to the affected residents to minimise socio-economic dislocations and hardships.
In view of the shortness of time if the Rent Control (Repeal) Bill is debated next week, the DAP will organise a series of meetings to hear the views of the people who would be adversely affected by the bill, particularly in Penang, Malacca and Kuala Lumpur, so that their rights and interests are fully taken into account by Parliament and Government before enacting the Rent Control (Repeal) Bill. The first of these "meet-the-people" sessions on the Rent Control (Repeal) Bill are likely to be held in Penang and Malacca on Sunday. Details would be announced separately.
As another national service to the people, the DAP has also posted the Rent Control (Repeal) Bill on the Internet, and is available on the DAP homepage mirror site at the following:
This will allow Malaysians who are hooked to the Internet to have immediate access to the Rent Control (Repeal) Bill.
This is the fifth Bill which the DAP has posted on the Internet and the first non-cyberbill. The other four bills which the DAP had posted on the Internet are:
In his online chat with 13,000 Malaysians at 28 locations yesterday to explain the Multimedia Super Corridor, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohammad encouraged State Governments to implement electronic government projects ahead of the Federal Government if they think they could do so.
It is in this spirit that the DAP has already gone ahead of the Federal Government in posting bills on the Internet. I will like know however when the Government proposes to take over from DAP this function of posting Bills on the Internet so that they are accessible to all Malaysians electronically.