(Penang, Monday): DAP proposes that the Penang State Government establish a Rent Decontrol Charter Council to ensure that tenants of pre-war premises in Penang get justice and fair in the rent decontrol process.
This Penang Rent Decontrol Charter Council should adopt as its basic terms of reference the three principles and five measures of a Charter for Rent Decontrol in Penang.
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.
Although Parliament, with the full support of Barisan Nasional MPs, had passed Rent Control (Repeal) Bill in the recent Parliamentary meeting, it is still not too late for the Penang State Government to ensure that the tenants of pre-war premises in Penang can get justice in accordance with the three principles and five measures of the Charter.
In actual fact, there are two ways whereby the Rent Decontrol Repeal Bill could be deferred or further amended.
Firstly, as the Rent Control Repeal Bill had not been given the Royal Assent and had not become law, the Penang State Government can request the Federal Government to withhold sending the Bill to the Yang di Pertuan Agong for Royal Assent so that a completely new Bill could be presented to the July meeting of Parliament incorporating the three principles and five measures of the Charter for Rent Decontrol.
Alternatively, even after the Rent Control (Repeal) Bill has been signed into law, it could be amended by way of a new Amendment Bill, provided the Penang State Government is prepared to intervene with the Federal Government to give Penang a special treatment, in view of the unprecedented victory given to the Barisan Nasional in the Penang state general elections in April 1995.
Although the Rent Control (Repeal) Bill has passed both Houses of Parliament, the Penang State Government is the implementing authority and if it finds it unjust and inequitable to enforce the decontrol process in disregard of the three principles and five measures of the Charter, it is duty-bound to ask the Federal Cabinet to extend the period for the transition for the decontrol process.
The question is whether the Penang Chief Minister and the Penang State Government are prepared to stand up for the rights of the people of Penang.