(Penang, Sunday): At the Penang State Assembly tomorrow, Penang Chief Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon should declare whether he supports the DAPís proposed Charter for tenants of pre-war premises comprising three principles and five measures with regard to the repeal of the Rent Control Act 1966.
The three principles are:
The five measures are:
1. Compensation to tenants;
2. Affordable accommodation to rehouse tenants;
3. Relocation should not adversely affect the livelihood of the tenants;
4. Five-year transition period for the rent decontrol process; and
5. As Penang Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Shariff Omar had promised the Malays staying in pre-war premises in Georgetown that they would not be relocated to Seberang Prai but would continue to stay in the vicinity of their present premises, the Penang Chief Minister should give an assurance that the Deputy Chief Ministerís promise would be extended to everyone in Georgetown who would be affected by the repeal of the Rent Control Act, regardless of race.
It is most unfortunate that in the Parliamentary debate on the Rent Control (Repeal) Bill last month, the Gerakan MP for Bukit Bendera, Chia Kwang Thye, played the role of the "spoiler", opposing the DAPís Charter for Justice for the tenants of pre-war premises, even objecting to my proposal that the 28-month period for the repeal of the Rent Control Act 1966 should be extended to five years from March 1, 1998 to Feb. 29, 2003.
It is also most unfortunate that the Penang Gerakan had misled the people of Penang, who constitute the most number of people affected by the repeal of the rent control legislation, that it had succeeded in getting a special treatment from the Federal Government - namely a five-year transition period for rent decontrol.
The Penang Gerakan Government should be mindful of the fact that one of the Teluk Intan by-election 20 Points outlining the fundamental demands and aspirations of the people of Teluk Intan on behalf of Malaysians is full support for the DAPís proposed Charter of Justice for the tenants of pre-war premises.
The Penang Gerakan Government ignores the Teluk Intan by-election 20 Points at its own risk of being repudiated by the people of Penang. I hope the Penang Chief Minister and the State Government would be more responsible and sensitive about the need to ensure that the tenants of pre-war premises in Penang are assured of justice and fair play in the rent decontrol process as outlined in the DAP Charter for tenants of rent control premises.